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Chris Mead

Christopher John (Chris) Mead (b. 1 May 1940, d. 16 January 2003) was a popular British ornithologist, author and an influential member of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Chris Mead, it has been said, was a big man, both in stature and personality. He was enthusiastic about the natural world, and about communicating this world to those around him. He was an avid lover of jazz, (watching) rugby, motor racing, local history and archaeology.

Table of contents
1 Family
2 Education
3 Migration and Ringing
4 Nightingales
5 Retirement
6 Awards
7 Memorial
8 Books
9 External Links
10 Source


He married Verity (known as "V") in 1965; they had three daughters.


Educated at Aldenham School, Hertfordshire, he read Mathematics at Peterhouse, Cambridge, but never finished his degree.

Migration and Ringing

An acknowledged expert on bird migration, he worked for the BTO for more than 40 years, from 1961. For most of that time (33 1/3 years) he worked in the BTO's Ringing Unit. In his lifetime, he caught and ringed over 400,000 birds of some 350 species in 18 countries. He was head of Britain's National Ringing Scheme.


To raise funds for the BTO's Nightingale research, he devised a CD of poetry, and Nightingale song (including several historic archive recordings) Nightingales: A Celebration with an accompanying book by Richard Mabey


In 1995, ill health brought about his early, and supposed, "retirement", after which he became the Trust's press consultant, regularly being intervewed on radio and in the press.


Mead is probably unique, in being given each of the UK's three prestigious awards for ornithology:


Amazed by the spontaneous out-pouring of warmth following Mead's death, his family and the BTO decided to use the many proffered donations to develop the BTO's library, and rename it The Chris Mead Library.

A memorial day was held at the BTO's headquarters, The Nunnery, on 5 May 2003, at which his family and colleagues spoke warmly of his knowledge, and generosity in sharing it.

Mead was also remembered in a special edition of BBC Radio 4 wildlife programme Nature on 12 May 2003 (repeated the next day).


(incomplete list)

External Links


BTO Press release