Swiss Ornithologist receives prestigious international award

19 Oct 2021 | No. 2021-42

Professor Lukas Jenni has been presented with the Marsh Award for International Ornithology by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) at a glittering ceremony at the Mall Gallery in London.

Professor Jenni has been at the forefront of European ornithology for all of his life until his recent retirement (June 2020), originally from 1979 as head of the Swiss ringing scheme then for the last 20 years as director of the Swiss Ornithological Institute at Sempach.

Among his 200 publications he is best known as the lead author of Moult and Ageing of European Passerines, the 1994 book which revolutionised the approach of many ornithologists across the continent. It was admired by some for its hundreds of ‘pretty pictures’, colour photographs of the wings of many species whilst others studied it for the quantitative data on the extent of moult. After the book went out of print it acquired a legendary status for the fantastic prices asked by hopeful eBay sellers of second-hand copies. Now, the second, enlarged edition of this book is out plus, in a separate book The Biology of Moult in Birds, a long-awaited thorough synopsis of moult in birds.

Nominating Professor Jenni for the award, Professor David Norman commented, “In his career he has supervised numerous students in his main research interests in ecology and the physiology of bird migration, as well as moult biology, but for the seminal books alone, Lukas Jenni is a very deserving recipient of the Marsh Award for International Ornithology. A copy of “Moult and Ageing of European Passerines” is to be found in the reference library of most serious bird-ringers, and the much-expanded (2020) second edition was eagerly-awaited. ”

Professor Lukas Jenni, receiving the award, said, “I feel very honoured to receive this renowned award and I am thankful to the Marsh Charitable Trust and the BTO for recognizing my work in ornithology. Birds in their environment have fascinated me since my early youth and I was privileged to work with birds and disclose some of their marvels all my professional life.”

The award was presented by Professor Juliet Vickery, CEO of the BTO, and Charles Micklewright, Marsh Christian Trust Trustee, at the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Natural Eye exhibition.

The Marsh Award for International Ornithology is awarded to an individual or group who have substantially advanced our understanding of avian ecology and whose work positively reflects pioneering work in the field to the wider public.

The Marsh Awards are supported by the Marsh Christian Trust and presented by the BTO.

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Notes for editors
The Marsh Award for International Ornithology
 is awarded to an individual scientist whose work on the international stage has had significant influence on British ornithology, especially as reflected in the work of BTO scientists and volunteers.

The Marsh Christian Trust was founded in 1981 by its current Chairman, Mr Brian Marsh OBE. From the outset the Trust has aimed to create long-standing relationships with the organisations it supports and partners through both its principle areas of work; the Grants Programme and the Awards Scheme. The Trust supports around 350 charities every year through the Grants Programme and gives around 80 different Awards to individuals and groups from across the charity sector, who make a difference to a cause that they believe in.

David Norman is a lifelong volunteer for the BTO. In 2002 he was awarded the BTO’s Tucker Medal for his outstanding scientific contributions to the work of the Trust, and in 2010 he led Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society to win the Inaugural Marsh Local Ornithology Award.
BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

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