Marsh Award for Local Ornithology

Run in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology, the Marsh Local Ornithology Award, is awarded to a bird club or group that publishes a book, completes a study or conducts any other exceptional activity that advances knowledge about birds.

The 2015 winner is Malcolm Burgess

In 2011, Malcolm Burgess founded PiedFly.Net. The objective of this network was to bring together those working on Pied Flycatcher nestbox schemes to share experiences and data, ensure the continuity of long running schemes, promote systematic recording and ringing of nestlings and adults, and the recapture of adults to determine recruitment patterns and between year survival. The network has been extremely successful and now includes 40 nestbox schemes with more than 2000 boxes in total. The network has also been successful in computerising all existing historic records only previously held in notebooks, with several schemes running since the 1970s and 1980s. As a scientist, Malcolm has been able to promote the collection of additional data such as habitat around the boxes, caterpillar frass fall and others. He has collaborated with the British Trust for Ornithology in the use of geolocators on Pied Flycatchers, and with university groups across the breeding range of the Pied Flycatcher throughout Europe, which has already led to several scientific publications.

Malcolm also organises an annual conference for the network volunteers which, as well as reporting regional results, includes presentations by national and international experts and broadens members’ interest with talks on wider woodland birds and ecology.

The network is run on an entirely voluntary basis, and Malcolm fits in his contributions around his paid professional work. Apart from modest inputs from Devon Birds, the British Ecological Society and Natural England, the network runs on the unpaid efforts and financial support of the volunteers themselves. is a model of how to enthuse and coordinate volunteer recording on a regional scale to provide massively valuable scientific data as well as building local support.

Pictured: Malcolm Burgess


British Trust for Ornithology
The Nunnery
IP24 2PU
Tel: +44 (0)1842 750050
Fax: +44 (0)1842 750030
Registered Charity Number 216652