Northampton man's service recognised

01 Dec 2014 | No. 2014-72

Dave Francis receives the British Trust for Ornithology’s prestigious Tucker Medal for ‘outstanding service to the trust’ at the 81st Annual Conference on Saturday 6 December.

Dave receiving his medal from Chris Packham

Every year the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) recognises the efforts of a distinguished individual and their outstanding contribution to the Trust’s scientific work, through Trust surveys or Trust-aided investigations, with the renowned Bernard Tucker Medal. Dave, a highly regarded authority on the moult strategies of passerines, became the 54th recipient of this award and was presented the medal by TV presenter and President of the BTO, Chris Packham.

Dave began bird ringing under licence in 1967 and has devoted his adult life to the scientific research of bird populations. To date, he manages one of the largest Constant Effort Sites in Britain at Pitsford Reservoir which has been running and contributing important information on bird abundance, productivity and survival for over 15 years.

The 1970s took Dave to Africa contributing ground-breaking data on our understanding of feather moult in European passerines and he has since been cited many times on this work in the highly acclaimed 'Moult Guide' publication. Dave sat on the esteemed Ringing Committee from 1983-87 and has many recognitions to his name; authoring a paper on moult in Swallows in the Trust’s journal, Ringing and Migration, as well as co-authoring the BTO’s 'Mist Net Making and Mending' guide, a resource widely used by some 2,500 licenced ringers in Britain.

In addition to this honour, Dave celebrated his 70th birthday on the day of receiving the medal and said “I was initially surprised to be awarded the Tucker Medal, knowing the standard of past recipients. Helping out as a tutor on over 30 ringing courses was never a chore as the other BTO members that I met were always so friendly and enthusiastic and I felt it was an opportunity to give something back to the ringing scheme. It would be a shame not to be able to pass on some of what I have learnt.”

Jacquie Clark Head of Ringing at the BTO says, “Dave has given huge support to the Ringing Scheme over the years and provided a great deal of information to further enhance our understanding. He is a very worthy recipient of this award.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The Bernard Tucker Medal is ‘for outstanding service to the Trust’ – i.e. for outstanding contributions to the Trust’s scientific work, through Trust surveys or trust-aided investigations. The Medal was first awarded in 1954, in memory of the BTO’s first Secretary, Bernard Tucker.
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.
  3. The BTO Ringing Scheme is funded by a partnership of the British Trust for Ornithology, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (on behalf of: Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage), The National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland) and the ringers themselves.
  4. The Constant Effort Sites (CES) scheme is the first national standardised ringing programme within the BTO Ringing Scheme and has been running since 1983. Ringers operate the same nets in the same locations over the same time period at regular intervals through the breeding season at over 120 sites throughout Britain and Ireland.  The Scheme provides valuable trend information on abundance of adults and juveniles, productivity and also adult survival rates for 25 species of common songbird.

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