The Song Sparrow Award, established in 1996, is Columbus Audubon's highest honor. It recognizes outstanding contributions by Audubon members who promote CA's mission, often over the course of years. Typically at least one Song Sparrow award is given every year for service in education or conservation or for other meritorious service.
The Song Sparrow Award was established to commemorate Margaret Morse Nice's groundbreaking scientific contributions on the life histories of Song Sparrows. Nice's work put Ohio on the map of the ornithological world. Indeed, no one has had a greater effect on birding and ornithology locally and internationally than Nice. From her first thorough observations - at the tender age of thirteen - of brown leghorn hens to her much-heralded work on Song Sparrows, she persevered in a man's world of ornithology to develop the science of ethology. This accomplishment was recognized by Konrad Lorenz, a 1973 Nobel Prize winner for behavioral studies. According to Lorenz, "her paper on the song sparrow was, to the best of my knowledge, the first long term field investigation of the individual life of any free living wild animal."