Dave Leech

Head of Ringing & Nest Recording Team

Dave is responsible for managing the Nest Record Scheme, the Barn Owl Monitoring Programme, and the Constant Effort Scheme and Retrapping Adults for Survival ringing projects.

Interests & Responsibilities

  • Responsible for overseeing the four BTO volunteer demographic monitoring schemes: Nest Record Scheme (NRS), Barn Owl Monitoring Programme (BOMP), Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing scheme and the Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) ringing scheme.
  • NRS and BOMP focus on the collection of productivity data at the level of the individual breeding attempt, while RAS collects survival data on species poorly covered by more general ringing. CES collects information on survival and per-season productivity. All these schemes feed demographic data into the BTO’s Integrated Population Monitoring programme.
  • Involved in development of novel monitoring schemes to collect avian productivity data, e.g. Nesting Neighbours.
  • Responsible for managing the Nest Records Organiser and the CES/RAS Organiser.
  • Involved in analysis of avian productivity data and author on over 30 refereed scientific papers, reports and reviews. Specific research interests include the effect of weather and climate change on breeding success and the role of nest predation in determining reproductive success.
  • Nest recorder, with experience of monitoring large nest box populations and finding nests of open-nesting species, and licensed bid ringer, currently holding a C Permit

Other Information

Active nest recorder, responsible for Nunnery RG submissions Active bird ringer (C permit) Council member of Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society Norfolk Mammal Recorder


BSc Biological Sciences, Oxford University PhD Avian mating systems, Lancaster University

Recent BTO Publications

McLean, N., Kruuk, L.E.B., van der Jeugd, H.P., Leech, D., van Turnhout, C.A.M. & van de Pol, M. 2022. Warming temperatures drive at least half of the magnitude of long-term trait changes in European birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 119 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2105416119)
Wilson, M.W., Fletcher, K., Ludwig, S.C. & Leech, D.I. 2022. Nesting dates of Moorland Birds in the English, Welsh and Scottish Uplands . Research Report no. 741. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford ISBN: 978-1-912642-32-8
Woodward, I.D., Massimino, D., Hammond, M.J., Barber, L., Barimore, C., Harris, S.J., Leech, D.I., Noble, D.G., Walker, R.H., Baillie, S.R. & Robinson, R.A. 2021. BirdTrends 2020: Trends in numbers, breeding success and survival for UK breeding birds. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk Link to publication
Nicolau, P.G., Burgess, M.D., Marques, T.A., Baillie, S.R., Moran, N.J., Leech, D.I. & Johnston, A. 2021. Latitudinal variation in arrival and breeding phenology of the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca using large-scale citizen science data. Journal of Avian Biology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/jav.02646)
Massimino, D., Woodward, I.D., Hammond, M.J., Harris, S.J., Leech, D.I., Noble, D.G., Walker, R.H., Barimore, C., Dadam, D., Eglington, S.M., Marchant, J.H., Sullivan, M.J.P., Baillie, S.R. & Robinson, R.A. 2020. BirdTrends 2019: Trends in numbers, breeding success and survival for UK breeding birds. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk Link to publication
Shutt, J.D., Cabello, I.B., Keogan, K., Leech, D.I., Samplonius, J.M., Whittle, L., Burgess, M.D. & Phillimore, A.B. 2019. The environmental predictors of spatio-temporal variation in the breeding phenology of a passerine bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0952) 9pp

Other Publications

Leech, D.I., Hartley, I.R., Stewart, I.R.K., Griffith, S.G. & Burke, T. 2001. No effect of parental quality or extra-pair paternity on brood sex ratio in the blue tit Parus caeruleus. Behavioural Ecology 12: 674-680.

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