Ornithologist Tony gains national award

Tony Cooper (on the right) being congratulated by Andy Clements, director of the BTO, on receipt of his Jubilee Medal.
Tony Cooper (on the right) being congratulated by Andy Clements, director of the BTO, on receipt of his Jubilee Medal.

A former head of biology at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School has been honoured for his bird conservation work.

Tony Cooper, chairman of the East Lancashire Ornithologists’ Club and Clitheroe resident, at the recent Annual Conference of the British Trust for Ornithology, was awarded the Trust’s Jubilee Medal.

The medal is awarded for devoted service to the Trust and Tony is only the 40th recipient since the medal was instituted in 1983, to mark the Trust’s Golden Jubilee.

Tony has served as the Trust’s unpaid representative for the East Lancashire region for almost 40 years, his main function being to organise many surveys of local bird life during that time, calling upon the services of a large number of willing local birders to carry out the field work involved.

These observers gather the data which is then analysed by the Trust’s professional scientists, based at Thetford in Norfolk. This is now called “Citizen Science” and the ability of the BTO to harness the efforts of so many skilled amateurs in this way is the envy of virtually every other country in the world.

One BTO project that has caught the public’s imagination is the use of light-weight satellite tags to find out where British Cuckoos go in the winter. An adult male, called Larry, was caught and fitted with a tag at Stocks Reservoir, in June 2015. Local birder Mark Breaks, of Newton-in-Bowland, helped to catch Larry. The tag revealed that Larry travelled via Hungary and Italy before crossing the Sahara Desert to winter in northern Angola. He returned successfully to breed again in Bowland in 2016 and is once again wintering in northern Angola. Further details of Larry’s route, and that of the other tagged cuckoos, may be found at https://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-
studies/cuckoo-tracking

The BTO is the UK’s premier bird research organisation, gathering data which is then used by both government and non-governmental organisations. Unlike the RSPB, the BTO does not get directly involved in bird protection and conservation and so its impartial data is trusted by all parties.

Further details about the Truist and its activities may be found at www.bto.org