Obituary

Published on 01 October 2002 in Obituaries

With the death of Ken Simmons on 25th February 2002, BB has lost a distinguished and loyal supporter. Of some 270 contributions he made to the ornithological literature, more than 120 were published in this journal. Ken joined the Notes Panel (later the Behaviour Notes Panel) in the early 1960s and remained on it until 2001. The well-used citation `Cramp & Simmons’ recognised his involvement with Birds of the Western Palearctic (BWP). But there was much more to Ken than these simple facts might suggest. His interests were wide ranging and he distinguished himself as an ornithologist, ethologist, aviculturalist, taxonomist and behavioural ecologist. In all this, and more, he was entirely self-taught. When Ken got really interested in a topic, he set out to master it as completely as possible. Ken was born in Kenton, Middlesex, on 29th March 1929, but spent his early childhood in China. After schooling in London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, he took a `free’ year (1945/46) roaming the countryside in Wiltshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Observations at this time on Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus and Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus were published 29 years later (Brit. Birds 67: 442-443). After professional training for a Teacher’s Certificate in London, he moved to Reading to take up teaching posts, joined the BOU (while still 18), acquired his first binoculars and started serious birdwatching. It was only now that he started to meet other birdwatchers, and joined the RSPB and the BTO (becoming a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of

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