West Midlands bird study group receive one of ornithology’s top awards.

09 Nov 2021 | No. 2021-44

The West Midlands Ringing Group (WMRG) was awarded the Marsh Award for Innovative Ornithology by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) at a glittering ceremony at the Mall Gallery in London.

The Marsh Award was presented to the WMRG for their pioneering work using thermal technology to help monitor farmland birds. WMRG are gathering accurate data across thousands of hectares of farmland and are providing critical information to aid wildlife-friendly farming, ecology and other land management, enabling landowners to plan and measure the effectiveness of their policies and practices. This information has only become available as a result of WMRG’s effective use of thermal technology. By using this technology, WMRG have added to the bank of knowledge of declining farmland bird species, roosting birds and those that become active after dark.

Chris Millward, nominating the group for the award, said, “At a crucial time in the struggle to halt biodiversity loss in the UK West Midlands Ringing Group are very deserving recipients of this prestigious Marsh Award. The group will certainly use this recognition of their efforts effectively and wisely.”

Ben Dolan, WMRG, said, "As a new group we always wanted to be innovative and drive change. The use of thermal technology is still in its infancy, but with more people using it we are sure that findings identified as a result will help to inform science and Ornithology for years to come. It is an honour to receive this award, which is shared amongst our thermal community across both the UK and internationally who share our passion to improve ornithological knowledge. It is with great humility we receive this prestigious award and look forward to what the future holds. We’d like to also thank West Midland Bird club for believing in our idea and supporting us to purchase our first ever thermal unit to start this journey."
The award was presented by Professor Juliet Vickery, CEO of the BTO, at the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Natural Eye exhibition in the Mall Galleries, London.

The Marsh Award for Innovation 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.

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 WMRG202144 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2021-44

Notes for editors
The Marsh Award for Innovative 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 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.
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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