A pair of Scottish bird award winners

A TEENAGER from Glasgow and Scotland’s birdwatching club have each won prizes from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Michael Sinclair, 16, was given the “Marsh Award for Young Ornithologist” for making a “significant contribution” to the BTO’s bird monitoring schemes and for sharing information with his peers, while the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) received the “Marsh Award for Local Ornithology” for creating its “here to Watch birds in Scotland” app.

Zul Bhatia, who nominated Sinclair for the award, said: “Michael’s commitment to helping young people to engage in birds and wildlife is nothing short of inspirational, not only did he set up the ‘Discovering Nature on my Doorstep’ project but he is also a founding and active member of the SOC’s ‘Youth Connect’, a project that aims to engage young people in watching birds and taking part in citizen science projects – he is a truly worthy recipient of the ‘Marsh Award for Young Ornithology’.”

Sinclair added: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award.

“Making wildlife accessible and interesting for all young people has never been more important and I’m pleased to have played a part in doing that.”

Sinclair is the first person in Scotland to receive the prize.

Content for the SOC’s app is provided entirely by more than 150 volunteers.

The number of sites covered by the app has risen from 400 when it was launched in April 2019 to more than 560 today.

Ben Darvill, the BTO’s development and engagement manager, who nominated the SOC for the award, said: “The existence of this wonderful resource is the result of many hundreds of hours of work from birders across Scotland.

“A great example of what is possible when people work together for the common good.”

Jeremy Wilson, vice president for birding and science at the SOC, added: “We have been bowled over by the way the app has been received and have heard of people buying their first smartphones just so they could use it.

“Winning the Marsh award is a real honour and we hope it encourages more people to enjoy the Scottish countryside and to help record our special wildlife.”

The Marsh awards are supported by the Marsh Christian Trust.

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.