The British Trust for Ornithology Board
Meet the board who steer BTO.
President - Frank Gardner, OBE
Frank Gardner is the BBC's full-time Security Correspondent, reporting and presenting on a wide range of global security and terrorism stories. He has also written four Sunday Times bestsellers. He was awarded the OBE by HM The Queen in 2005 for services to journalism. Frank is a keen birder, his childhood interest having been renewed while working in the Middle East. In Spring 2019 he presented Nature Notes on BBC Radio 4's Today programme looking at the provision of habitat for Nightingales. Frank is also patron of the charity DSUK (Disability Snowsports UK), and has now been elected President of BTO.
Chair of council - Prof. Jennifer Gill
Jennifer Gill is Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia. She has been a BTO member for over 25 years, and is a ringer, regular BirdTracker and BBS volunteer. She has previously served as President of the British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU) and chaired the BOU Ibis Journal Committee.
Honorary Treasurer - Ian Packer
Ian is a chartered accountant, company director and keen birder. He has commercial, financial and managerial experience gained from careers in practice and industry across many sectors, including audit, corporate finance, investment banking and manufacturing. A former voluntary finance director of the journal ‘British Birds’ and present BTO Benefactor, Ian has been a BTO member for over forty years. Birds have been a lifelong passion and he enjoys travelling to see birds in new environments.
Honorary Secretary - Frances Hurst
Ms Frances Hurst runs an organisational development consultancy in the UK voluntary sector, helping charities work more effectively with their people. She was Director of Marketing at RSPB throughout the nineties, with responsibility for fundraising and membership development.
Dr Ian Bainbridge
Ian is a Former Chief Ecological Adviser for the Scottish Government and Head of Science at Scottish Natural Heritage. Ian worked in conservation ecology for thirty five years, previously with RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. Ian was chair of the UK Scientific Working Group on Special Protection Areas for fifteen years, and of the recent Review of the Guidelines for Biological SSSIs. A ringer for 45 years, Ian Chairs the Ringing Committee.
Dr Fiona Barclay
Dr Fiona Barclay is the managing director of NatureGuides Ltd (formerly BirdGuides Ltd). She has produced scores of apps for mobile devices, and runs a digital consultancy for classical music.
Sophie is editor at Macmillan Cancer Support, specialising in taking complex clinical information and editing it for readability. Sophie has a degree in social sciences and psychology, and explored the psychological and mental health benefits of incorporating nature into our daily lives. She continues to encourage others to take an interest in wildlife, and regularly helps out at her local hedgehog rescue. She has undertaken several courses at the Open University in Ecology, and is extremely proactive in furthering her ornithological knowledge.
Dr Stephen Hunter
Stephen has been a BTO member and bird ringer for 45 years. A Zoology degree and Antarctic seabird research was followed by a Civil Service career with MAFF/Defra. He served on BTO Council for nine years, including four as Chairman. Now retired, Stephen spends time ringing in his North Yorkshire orchard and doing local surveys.
Simon worked in the advertising and marketing industry. He was editorial director of a number of marketing magazines and later became CEO of one of the UK’s biggest media agencies before taking on a range of advisory and non-executive roles. He has had an interest in birds since childhood and became a trustee of the RSPB in the 1990’s and chaired its Education and Membership committee. He is involved with the local birdwatching society and edits its quarterly newsletter.
Dr David Parker
David is an ecologist and environmental manager with a career covering both environmental consultancy and the statutory nature conservation sector. He has a lifelong love of birds and the places where they live, and is particularly interested in the Dee Estuary where he has been a WeBS recorder for almost 40 years.
Dr Debby Reynolds
Debby has a strong record on effective governance to help organisations deliver successfully on their vision and strategy. She has been a member of BTO for 20 years and is an enthusiastic world birder. As Chief Veterinary Officer and DG Animal Health at Defra, Debby was the Government’s media spokesperson on veterinary issues and primary adviser to the Prime Minister on avian influenza, for which she was awarded the CB.
Nick’s professional career was with the major international law firm Clifford Chance LLP, where he introduced the provision of pro bono legal advice for a major conservation organisation. He is a trustee director of conservation charity The Murray Downland Trust, and has travelled internationally in support of conservation and other charities. He is a churchwarden, enthusiastic gardener and looks after his own wildflower meadow.
Jean is an executive director of Anglian Water, with a current focus on strategic growth and resilience. Jean has worked for water companies for almost thirty years - the last thirteen as Regulation Director. Jean is a Chartered Accountant by background.
Vice-president - Keith Betton
Keith is a freelance public relations consultant, having previously spent most of his career acting as the UK travel industry’s lead spokesman working at ABTA. His areas of experience are in media, government relations, market research, advertising and commercial negotiation. Keith has been a birder and BTO member since a child, and still contributes to BTO surveys. He is the County Recorder for Hampshire and Chairman of Hampshire Ornithological Society.
Vice-president - Prof. Tim Birkhead
Tim is Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Sheffield and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His research focuses on bird populations, reproduction, and the history of science. Tim's research has changed the way we think about bird mating systems. He has published many research papers and fifteen books and is the recipient of awards for his scientific research, history of science research, undergraduate teaching and public outreach
Vice-president - Prof. Stuart Bearhop
Stuart is an ecologist with a range of interests mainly related to migration and foraging ecology of vertebrates and the application of stable isotope techniques in animal ecology. He is Professor of Animal Ecology, University of Exeter, and the author of over 120 scientific papers. He has marked birds all over the world, and has dedicated many years to working on the East Canadian High Arctic Light-bellied Brent Goose.
Vice-president - Prof. Ian Owens
Ian is Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, with responsibility for collections, research and science facilities. Personal research based on a combination of experimental, phylogenetic and molecular approaches to study the evolutionary ecology of vertebrates, particularly birds. Current areas of particular interest include: large-scale patterns of biodiversity; ecological impacts of climate change; genetics of wild populations; speciation and diversification; phylogeny and ecology of extinction.
Diversity in birding: why it matters
BTO's Jamey Redway reflects on diversity in birding, and how organisations like BTO play a role in making birding more inclusive.
Youth Advisory Panel
Meet our panel of volunteers who help steer BTO to better serve our younger supporters.