An Oregon State University Press book on kingfishers has received the 2024 Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing. It’s the third time an OSU Press title has won the Burroughs Medal, which OSU Press Director Tom Booth says is unprecedented for a university press.

The John Burroughs Medal was created in 1926 and is awarded annually to the year’s most distinguished book of nature writing.

The winning title, “Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher” by Marina Richie, combines science, field observation, and storytelling to uncover the secret lives of belted kingfishers.

“When I wrote ‘Halcyon Journey,’ my hope was to shine a light on this jay-sized bird of the hover and headfirst dive,” said Richie, who lives in Bend, Oregon. “To receive the Burroughs Medal is the greatest of honors. I’d love to tell every kingfisher—you won.”

Growing up in a National Park Service family with a bird-loving father influenced Richie’s passion for protecting wildlife and wild places. Her articles, essays and poetry appear in literary and popular magazines, blogs, newspapers and in three book collections. “Halcyon Journey” also won a 2022 National Outdoor Book Award and Foreword Indies Award.

The Burroughs Medal award ceremony takes place April 1 in New York City. Past medalists include Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Roger Tory Peterson, Peter Matthiessen, John McPhee, Barry Lopez and Robin Wall Kimmerer (for “Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses,” OSU Press, 2004).

~ Tom Booth