Welsh Ornithologist receive national recognition for his work in Wales

06 Dec 2021 | No. 2021-54

Tony Cross has been awarded the Jubilee Medal by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in recognition of the scientific research he has carried out on some of Wale’s most iconic birds and for his devotion to the Trust.

Tony, whilst studying Environmental Science at Aberystwyth University, helped to lift the lid on the origin of some of the 10,000’s Starlings that regularly roost under the sea-front pier there during the winter months; it became clear that many of them came from Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Russia. Back then it could take up to 7 years to receive ringing details from behind the Iron Curtain!

His spring and summer vacations were spent as a volunteer warden, monitoring and guarding the relic population of Red Kites in Mid-Wales; at the time the only surviving population in the UK. He was the main driver for the formation of The Welsh Kite Trust and headed its day-to-day running for over 20 years. He later played a pivotal role in the reintroduction of Red Kites, of Welsh origin, into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

After graduation he took on a Nature Conservancy Council short term contract to ring Ravens, a passion which continued for over twenty years and resulted in over 3,000 ringed. He has also been extremely active in the monitoring of Pied Flycatchers, Ring Ouzels, Hawfinch, Dippers, Nightjars, Barn Owls and Choughs. Many of these projects incorporated the use of nest boxes to help boost their populations, in the case of Choughs, involving placing nest boxes on dangerous high cliffs. He has personally ringed over 200,000 birds, almost all of them in Wales or the Welsh Marches, helping to expand our knowledge of birds in the region.

Professor Michael D. Hayward , nominating Tony for the award, said, “With increasing experience Tony has recognised the need to transfer his knowledge and renowned expertise, which he has done by training many young ornithologists in the art and science of bird ringing, tagging and other tracking procedures. In addition he has been involved with the establishment of, or contributed to, several local groups, to coordinate their efforts such as the Welsh Kite Trust, Mid Wales Ringing Group, the Woodcock Network, Shropshire Raptor Study Group, Curlew Country and more recently the ‘Echoes’ project run by UCW Aberystwyth. He is a very deserving recipient of this award.”
Tony Cross, receiving the award, said, “My nomination for this award came as a genuine shock. I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to be able to make a living from my childhood passion. To receive an award for that too seems greedy but I am very pleased to have been honoured in this way!  It is me that should be thanking the British Trust for Ornithology for enabling and justifying my passion through its Bird Ringing and Nest recording Schemes. I would urge all birdwatchers not just to watch but also to participate in the BTO’s Surveys.  With the pace of change in our natural environment, adding to the knowledge of its effects and how we might mitigate them has never been more urgent.”

The Jubilee Medal is awarded by the BTO to individuals who have shown outstanding and committed devotion to the Trust.

Contact Details
Paul Stancliffe
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] bto.org (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. These can be downloaded from this link for which you will need to enter the password AVCJubilee202154 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2021-54

Notes for editors
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. www.bto.org

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