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Dave Ankney

Fern Davies

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Noted waterfowl biologist Dave Ankney passed away on 28 February 2013 after a long illness. Before he retired, Dave was a Professor of Zoology at the University of Western Ontario where he taught Ecological Adaptations of Birds and Wildlife Ecology and Management. He and his graduate and honours students have published approximately 150 peer-reviewed papers on birds, primarily waterfowl. He was a Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union, Past-President of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunter’s, former member of the Long Point Biosphere Board, and currently chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of Long Point Waterfowl. He was instrumental in the successful reintroduction of Wild Turkeys to Ontario and a driving force behind attempts to deal with the problem of over-abundant white goose populations in North America, the latter resulting in him receiving the Ducks Unlimited “Wetland ConservationAchievement Award” in 1997. He also had a long-standing interest in the questions behind the decline of Black

Ducks in North America. During the 1980s and 1990s, there were a number of people besides Dave, in both Canada andthe US, trying to find out whether the main driver behind the Black Duck Decline was harvest, hybridization with

Mallards, factors other than these two main hypotheses, or some combination of all of these.


The Waterfowl Community has announced the development of two scholarships in honour of Dave and his wife Sandi,

which will be awarded to one M.Sc. and one Ph.D. student each year. A tribute page has been established by Long Point Waterfowl, and 




The Waterfowl Community out of Long Point Waterfowl awarded Ankney its Kirchoffer Back Porch Award in recognition and appreciation for his great and many contributions, saying that:


The Waterfowl Community hereby proclaims Dr. C. Davison (Dave) Ankney as recipient of the Kirchoffer Back Porch Award. Scores of waterfowl ecologists have enjoyed debating Dave Ankney on dozens of issues concerning the study and management of waterfowl. Many have had the pleasure of doing so on the back porch at Kirchoffer Lodge, a place very near to Dave’s heart and that he wrote about with great eloquence. The original painting that goes with this award is of the porch.


The waterfowl community has benefited immensely from having Dave’s clear and honest voice for waterfowl, wildlife management, and the broader realm of science in general. Dave was a voracious advocate for ducks, duck hunters, and the pursuit of knowledge through rigorous scientific processes.

Accordingly, we recognize Dave for his outstanding contributions:

  • Unbridled honesty - dished out with equanimity to whoever needed a reminder.
  • Fantastic mentorship – fostering generations of developing scientists and managers who have gone on in Dave’s image to look after the resource and those that treasure it. Some of us may not have been so fortunate as to be students under Dave guidance, but we were still greatly impacted by his thoughts and leadership.
  • Passion - that cannot be matched for living life, enjoying the outdoors, engaging fully in the art and science of waterfomanagement, and debating any topic were there was a hint of an issue that needed resolution.
  • Development of original thinking. Dave started entire fields of study in waterfowl ecology and avian biology.
  • Commitment -to the wildlife field. Dave published more than many us of can dream about, but he always was on the front lines advocating for science to be put to good use in effective management and good decision making.
In 2010, Delta Waterfowl published this interview with Ankney, which is really worth a read!
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