2015 Annual Fund: Walter Coxe Research Grants

Holliman, Coxe cropped

Walter Coxe, right, with Dr. Dan Holliman of Birmingham-Southern College

Walter F. Coxe was an engaging Birmingham Audubon Society leader who helped a small group of birders and naturalists grow into Alabama’s leading membership nonprofit driven by a conservation mission. Members fondly recall his infectious enthusiasm for the natural world and excursions – rain or shine – in search of birds, other wildlife, and the beautiful Alabama landscape.

Birmingham Audubon’s Walter F. Coxe Research Grants began with a single gift by one individual to honor the leader. Inspired by the donor, our board supplemented the gift and the first, small grants were distributed to students and academic institutions. Birmingham Audubon’s dedication to research benefitting wildlife, plant or conservation issues affecting Alabama continues today with grants of up to $2,500 for students’ projects. We receive many more deserving applications than we can now support.

We ask you to consider the impact of your gift during the 2015 Birmingham Audubon Annual Fund.  Your individual gift can be transformational by helping fund research led by students committed to Alabama species and landscape or by supporting the conservation work and outreach central to Birmingham Audubon’s mission. Each gift is important and inspirational to our leaders and staff who work daily in Birmingham Audubon’s seven county service area and throughout the state with other Audubon chapters and partners.


T. J. Zenzal, current Walter Coxe Research Grant recipient, studying autumn migration patterns of ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Last year, Birmingham Audubon donors contributed to the Urban Bird Habitat Initiative that supports work at five locations in Jefferson and Shelby Counties, from habitat gardens to prairie development and even a downtown, rooftop Chimney Swift tower. We ask you to consider supporting our campaign to build Walter F. Coxe Research Grants, but more importantly consider a gift that inspires you.

Two Grant recipients published in top tier journal: T.J. Zenzal (pictured above) and Jaclyn Smolinsky, graduate students in the laboratory of  Dr. Frank Moore at the University of Southern Mississippi, are co-authors with Dr. Moore and others on a study of songbirds (red-eyed vireo, Swainson’s thrush, wood thrush) migrating from the Fort Morgan peninsula across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed the importance of the birds’ fat reserves and weather conditions in migration success and acknowledged the support of Birmingham Audubon Society.  

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