Robert Spencer BA MSc (1923-1994) Bob Spencer, who died on 21st September 1994 at die age of 71, was a national figure in die ornithological scene for 40 years. He joined the staff of die British Trust for Ornitiiology in 1954 as its first professional head of die Bird Ringing Scheme, following die retirement of Miss Elsie Leach, who for many years had occupied die role in a voluntary capacity. During the next 30 years, Bob was to preside over the many developments which resulted in the bird-ringing technique becoming die major ornitiiological research tool which it is recognised to be today. He initiated many changes in the quality and durability of materials, and in trapping, handling, ageing and sexing techniques to maximise die value of information obtained, yet always preached– and taught–a proper concern for the welfare of die bird in die hand. Amongst die first to use imported Japanese mist-nets, he drew on his own experiences witii them to draw up a code of conduct (under the aegis of the BTO’s Bird Ringing Committee) for their use by British ringers; he dealt firmly witii any instances of carelessness which came to his attention. When cannon-netting and rocketnetting techniques were devised, he insisted on diere being operating rules (witii the birds’ welfare in mind) for tiiose who wished to use them in conjunction witii BTO rings–withdrawal of which was the ultimate sanction. He refined the system of bird-ringing licences and devised strict training standards, to ensure tiiat ringers operated
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.