Marsh Award for Innovative Ornithology

This Award is run in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology and celebrates an important contribution which takes forward our understanding of avian ecology or conservation science.

The Award is presented to an individual or group who has made a recent publication or revealed a new finding which substantially advances our understanding in the field. It may also be presented to an individual or group whose work positively reflects this new research, or other pioneering work in the field, to the wider public.

Pictured right - A cuckoo with tracking device designed by the BTO Cuckoo Team, winners of the 2012 Marsh Award for Innovative Ornithology.

The 2016 winner is Dick Newell and Action for Swifts

Dick Newell runs an organisation called ‘Action for Swifts’ (AFS) whose main objective is to achieve a reduction in the declines in breeding Swifts in the UK and elsewhere. Dick has stimulated the growth of volunteer groups around the UK to record numbers of Swifts and to take actions to stem declines, leading to the establishment of ‘Swift Local Networks’ (SLN). Using innovative designs, he builds and installs bespoke Swift nest boxes to fit different environments and works with organisations such as local governments, property developers and individual property owners, encouraging them to provide nesting sites for Swifts. Dick operates a blog, through which he communicates widely about his cause and provides advice and details of nest box designs and installations. He has pioneered the use of an attraction call system which plays recorded Swift calls by loudspeaker at sites where Swift boxes have been installed, to encourage breeding in these areas. Dick has also been instrumental in attaching data loggers to Swifts so that information can be downloaded from individual birds to establish migration routes and wintering areas of British birds. AFS has produced a publication covering the basic details of Swift biology and lifestyle which has been translated into several languages. Dick’s use of new technology and various communication channels to encourage people around the world to care and take action for Swifts are an inspiration to many people.

Pictured: Dick Newell with Emma Haworth, MCT Ambassador


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