CFO Awards

About our Awards

Colorado Field Ornithologists present awards to individuals and organizations for service to Colorado's avian diversity. 

Prairie chicken. Small section of a larger mural in Denver, CO. Photo by Megan Jones Patterson.
Prairie chicken. Small section of a larger mural in Denver, CO. Photo by Megan Jones Patterson.

Ronald A. Ryder Award

The Ronald A. Ryder Award for Distinguished Service to Colorado Field Ornithologyis named for the late Dr. Ronald Arch Ryder, known to friends and birders as "Ron". Dr. Ryder was a longtime professor of wildlife biology at Colorado State University and an influential force in Colorado Field Ornithologists and other Colorado birding groups. This award is given to individuals for: 

  • For distinguished service to the Colorado Field Ornithologists organization and its goals.
  • For scholarly contributions to the Colorado Field Ornithologists and to Colorado field ornithology.
  • For sharing knowledge of Colorado field ornithology with the people of the state of Colorado.

These qualifications reflect the character of Dr. Ryder's contributions to Colorado ornithology.

Landowner Appreciation Award

The Landowner Appreciation Award is given to thank private landowners who graciously allow access for birders to see significant rarities or interesting birds on their property.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is intended to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the research or conservation of Colorado birds or service to the Colorado birding community.

CFO Directors Award

Director's Award recognizes significant contributions to Colorado Field Ornithologists and to efforts that CFO supports.

Nomination and Selection

Nominations for any award may be made by the membership-at-large. Only living persons may be nominated for any of the awards. To ensure nominations arrive in time for award decisions, please submit in writing on or before January 15 of each year. Please send nominations, including nominees full name, nominee contact information, and the reason for nomination to the CFO president

The CFO Board selects and approves each award. Awards are presented at the CFO annual meeting, typically held during the convention.  Ron Ryder recipients are presented with a plaque designed to match the original plaque given to Dr. Ryder.

2024 Award Nominations will Open in Spring

Nominations are being accepted until TBD.


CFO members fund the Awards program entirely with voluntary contributions. Plaques of appreciation are given to businesses, landowners and other individuals who allow access to private property in order to view rare or unusual birds.

Award Recipients

Ronald A. Ryder
Year Name
2018 Lynn Wickersham
(Colorado Birds, pg. 148)
2014 Catherine P. Ortega
2013 Stephen R. Jones
2012 Dr. Brian Linkhart
2011 Larry Semo
2010 Alexander Cruz
2009 Dave Leatherman
2008 Tony Leukering
(Colorado Birds, pg. 240)
2005 Rich Levad
2004 Richard Beidleman
2003 Stephen Martin
2000 Bob Righter
1999 Hugh Kingery
1998 Harold Holt
1995 Ron Ryder
Lifetime Achievement
Landowner Appreciation
Directors Award