Yorkshire birdwatchers receive top ornithology award

19 Oct 2021 | No. 2021-41

Two Yorkshire birdwatchers have been honoured at the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) annual awards ceremony and received the prestigious Marsh Award for Local Ornithology at a glittering event held at the Mall Gallery in London.

Ken Hutchinson and Vic Fairbrother were given the award in recognition of their twenty-plus year study of Ring Ouzels on the North York Moors. During this time Ken and Vic have amassed a huge dataset on this red-listed bird of conservation concern and the rigour of their fieldwork and record-keeping was deemed to be of sufficiently high calibre to be used as a reference data-set for the last national ring ouzel survey in 2012.

Their long-term study site at Rosedale in Yorkshire has yielded fascinating insights into the lives of Ring Ouzels, furthering our understanding of a previously little-studied species. In 2020 Vic and Ken published a book 'The Ring Ouzel: A view from the North York Moors', which showcased their incredible field skills and observations, and is now a new touchstone for Ring Ouzel conservation in the UK.

James Anderson, nominating Ken and Vic for the award, said, “I believe that the Marsh Award for Local Ornithology is a fitting tribute to the author's exemplary work and it would also inspire other fieldworkers to adopt this sort of approach; our knowledge for whichever target species would be so much richer for it.”

Ken and Vic receiving the award, said, “We have been delighted by the response to The Ring Ousel: A View from the North York Moors but feel extremely humble to receive this prestigious Marsh Award for Local Ornithology.

The success of our study would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of many people, in particular Chris Rollie, Innes Sim and all the members of the UK Ring Ouzel Study Group.

The natural world around us is under ever increasing pressure and we would like to dedicate this award to the many other people engaged in fieldwork to promote greater understanding and protection of the life enhancing wildlife around us.

We hope that the publication of our study inspires other people to embark on a single species study. We cannot recommend it highly enough and only wish that we had started sooner.”

The Marsh Award for Local Ornithology is awarded to a bird club or group that publishes a book, completes a study or conducts any other exceptional activity in the preceding calendar year that advances knowledge about birds.

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 in the Mall Galleries, London.

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)

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 SWLA202141 alternatively, please contact press [at] bto.org quoting reference 2021-41

Notes for editors
The Marsh Award for Local Ornithology
 is awarded to a bird club or group that publishes a book, completes a study or conducts any other exceptional activity in the preceding calendar year that advances knowledge about birds.

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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