Obituary: Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards (1906-1997)

Published on 01 June 1997 in Obituaries

Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards DSc FRS CBE (1906-1997) In the death of Vero WynneEdwards (‘Wynne’) aged 90 on 5th January, we have lost a fine athlete, a versatile naturalist, a constructive Head of Department, and a controversial theoretician of international stature. The third son of die Rev. Canon J. R. WynneEdwards, born on 4th July 1906, he was reared in the Yorkshire Dales and educated at Leeds Grammar School, Rugby School and New College, Oxford, where he was awarded a First and became Senior Student. On asking him what part he played in the renaissance of British Ornithology taking place at Oxford at that time, I was told facetiously by Max Nicholson that he came on one of the censuses, disappeared into a field with Jeannie Morris, and failed to return any counts, and then by Wynne that he also had a copy of Max’s seminal work How Birds Livehe could make notes throughout. — — Wynne next moved to the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, where he surveyed the local Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris roosts while cycling to visit Jeannie in Exeter (at least 74 km each way), and they married when he moved on to Bristol. In his Starling report in British Birds (23: 138-153, 170-180; 24: 346-353), he was already speculating about the reasons for birds’ social behaviour. In 1930, he became Associate Professor at McGill University, Montreal. There, he made his name with a major review of the seabirds of the North Atlantic, based on his transects between Britain

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