Marsh Young Ornithologist of the Year

This Award is run in partnership with British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and recognises an individual (or group of people) under the age of 18 who has/have made a significant contribution to BTO bird monitoring schemes and shared their passion for ornithology with their peers.

Nominations are judged by an independent panel of experts who consider each application against agreed judging criteria.

Anna Webberley 2022

Anna is a 20-year-old bioscience student from Cardiff University. Anna has done an extraordinary job of reviving the Ornithology Society at the university after it was forced to cease following the coronavirus pandemic. She successfully managed to do this despite the demands of both her placement, a late-night job, her dyslexia, and the shifting rules of the ongoing pandemic. Anna has managed to not only reorganise the society, but also to host some incredible events and create a community of avid young birders at the university. Within the last few months, Anna has been involving members with multiple surveys, such as the BTO’s Wetland Bird Survey, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Big Garden Birdwatch, and the Welsh Ornithological Society’s 2022 Rook survey. Through this, she has contributed important data to the national database. Anna has also actively inspired a new generation of ornithologists through the society and encouraged a diversity of students from all different backgrounds to find an interest in bird watching.

Previous Winners

Sian Mercer

Despite being only 16 years old, Sian is a young woman who inspires so many people in all she achieved and endeavours to achieve. She has worked hard to contribute to the ornithological and environmental sectors in spite of the challenges of lockdowns and her school exams. Alongside being a keen birder who is constantly aspiring to learn more, Sian has converted her passion for nature into working with the BTO in their Youth Representative Scheme. Since October 2020, she has organised a range of events and activities for young people in Shropshire and has actively taken part in many real-life events and surveys which have contributed to the gathering of important ornithological data. Sian has also attempted to push people all around her, including her peers, to have a greater respect for nature and birds. She has written articles, tackled issues such as plastic waste, taken school friends birdwatching with her, and expresses her views on how nature can be made more accessible and safe for young women. Sian’s love for nature and birds always comes first to her, rather than her own status in the field and her modesty can often cause her work to go unrecognised.

Michael Sinclair

Michael is keen on all wildlife and particularly in his local Linn Park in Glasgow, where he has organised public information days and is an active Climate Change campaigner and Conservation volunteer. He is a regular speaker about his work having talked at the SOC Annual Conference and many local events. Michael has raised funds for three wildlife charities by selling nest boxes and set up a sponsorship, monitoring and reporting scheme. He is keen to involve others in conservation works, working with local schools, community groups and families. He is careful to minimise disturbance when monitoring next boxes and is keen to share his findings by contributing to BTO schemes and his model has now been replicated by Friends of Glasgow’s Local Nature Reserves. In 2020 he set up a new project ‘Discovering Nature on my Doorstep’ which aims to engage young people in the area with wildlife by providing free access to wildlife monitoring equipment. He is a trainee Ringer with Clyde Ringing Group, helping to organise the first ever Ringing Demonstration in 2019 and is also a founding and active member of SOC Youth connect.  


Watch the Awards Presentation:


Kabir is an outstanding young ornithologist who is hugely passionate about wildlife in London and is a great ambassador for young people. He is now a twice attendee at British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Bird Camp, 2018 & 2019, and attended BTO’s ‘An Agenda for Change’ event at the House of Lords. Kabir undertakes a variety of survey work for BTO and has submitted data for Broadwater Lake and Moorhall Gravel Pits. He is also an active wildlife blogger. One of the many reasons Kabir stands out amongst his peers is the work he has done to produce an amazing map of the Natures of London, a useful resource for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. This work really engages the urban population with the nature on their doorstep and is very much in line with BTO’s own objective to engage new and different people, in the urban environment.


Since the age of 12, Louis has been a huge support of and made a significant contribution to the BTO as a star ambassador. He is a Trainee Ringer, takes part in the Nest Record Scheme, is a member of Bird Track and has recently been taking part in the Wetlands Bird Survey. Louis writes about all these voluntary activities on his blog.

Louis makes a positive impact on his local environment, taking part in beach cleans with his family and recycling his old wellies into nest boxes to place around his local woods. He has all the star qualities of a future master ornithologist – he is full of energy and enthusiasm for birds and is always keen to learn more.


Toby is a great Ambassador for the BTO. He was one of a small group of young birders who have given presentations at the BTO annual conference in 2014 and made a big impression on the audience.

Toby has held a ringing license since November 2016 and in addition to his ringing contributions, he contributes to BirdTrack, the House Martin Survey, the Wetland Bird Survey and the Nest Record Scheme. He has provided material for the BTO blogs and publications, helped on the BTO stand at Birdfair and recently volunteered at the BTO Bird Camp for young birders. He is very active on social media and regularly helps to promote the work of the BTO.


Josie has been a C ringer for 2 years and rings in her garden and at a variety of local sites, on her own or with her trainer. She is now learning the skills of nest finding and colour ringing and is involved with a BTO colour ringing scheme for Woodlark.

Josie is passionate about sharing her love of bird ringing and keeps her blog updated which she then shares widely through social media. She is actively involved in two Facebook groups where young ringers can network and share their experiences. As a result of being Vice-Chair of the ‘Next Generation Birders’ Facebook group, Josie regularly organises visits to various bird observatories for young birders, giving them a chance to meet up in person and experience ringing first hand.

Every year, Josie and her trainer put on a ringing demonstration for the public in conjunction with the local countryside Rangers which always proves very popular. She does all she can to encourage her local community to take an interest in the natural world around them through her role as a conservation volunteer. In 2015, Josie spoke in front of a large audience at Birdfair about her experiences as a young birder and also appeared on Springwatch Extra in 2015 giving a demonstration of ringing. She is an asset to the bird ringing community and an inspiring role model for young birders.


Findlay  is an outstanding young conservationist. He is passionate about the British Trust for Ornithology and is a keen trainee ringer, nest recorder, BirdTracker, Garden BirdWatcher, and surveyor for WebBS. He regularly writes about his work on his blog which helps him to communicate his passion to a wide audience. He has been very successful in raising awareness of conservation issues, and using BTO scientific data as evidence, to high-level politicians, conservationists and policy makers.

Findlay has been instrumental in raising awareness of the plight of the Hen Harrier in England, and created ‘Harry the Hen Harrier’, a huge model Hen Harrier which has been used to great effect. The model was at Beacon Fell in Lancashire for the summer and is now being used in engagement with schoolchildren.

Findlay is inspirational to adults and children alike and is a brilliant motivational speaker. Since the age of six he has been recognised for his passion for birds and wildlife and this looks set to continue. Findlay is very well regarded for his passion for ornithology, as can be seen through his success in winning this award and being named runner up for the Young Animal Enthusiast Award at the Animal Hero Awards 2014.