Timor Stubtail © James Eaton / BirdtourAsia

Bertram Smythies Fund

The Bertram Smythies Fund was established using a substantial bequest from the late Bertram Smythies, author of The Birds of Burma (1940) and The Birds of Borneo (1960). The fund is used to support larger conservation projects that fall outside the aims or budget of the Conservation Fund. Awards are made at the discretion of OBC Council (which meets four times a year) and the OBC Conservation Committee. In the first instance, applicants should submit a short outline proposal so that OBC can decide whether to request a full proposal. OBC Council may also nominate projects for awards.

Example projects funded by the Bertram Smythies Fund (compiled by Brian Sykes in BirdingASIA 14, Dec 2010).

World Pheasant Association Training Workshop, Thailand, November 2010
An important part of the international symposium run by the World Pheasant Association (WPA) every three years in Asia is an intensive six-day course on project design, field techniques, and writing/communication, led by six experienced Asian Galliforme fieldworkers and conservationists as instructors and mentors. WPA select 15 participants from a short list of candidates from within the region.

All of the participants had already attracted attention through their work and had demonstrated a commitment to bird conservation in general. Some had already been funded by OBC. The budget for the training project including accommodation, subsistence, training materials and transportation to Bangkok at the end of the course, amounting to £125 per head, a total of £1,875 for the 15 participants, was paid for by OBC from the Smythies Fund. Confirmation has been received that the course went ahead as planned and a full report is expected in due course.

Shorebird trapping and ringing training project, Bangladesh, November 2010
By taking advantage of the availability of some US$ 5,000 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2010 budget, and the availability of experienced BTO- approved ringers Phil Round (PDR), Andy Pierce (AP) and Nick Dymond (ND) to demonstrate techniques and train participants, it was possible to organise a training course for a number of young Bangladeshi ornithologists in catching and ringing with a specific emphasis on shorebirds.

Although the prime target of the project was to aim to ring and flag Spoon-billed Sandpipers, Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, the Bangladesh Bird Club team will be able to participate in other shorebird projects. The training was arranged to take place on Sonadia island where Spoon-billed Sandpipers were observed in spring 2010. A budget of US$10,000, which included cost of flights for PDR and AP from Bangkok (ND generously paid his own fare from UK) and rings suitable for target species, was drawn up. OBC joined with UNDP to fund this project, our contribution being US$5,000.