Dave Leech

Head of Ringing & Nest Recording Team

Dave is responsible for managing the Nest Record Scheme, the Barn Owl Monitoring Programme, and the Constant Effort Scheme and Retrapping Adults for Survival ringing projects.

Interests & Responsibilities

  • Responsible for overseeing the four BTO volunteer demographic monitoring schemes: Nest Record Scheme (NRS), Barn Owl Monitoring Programme (BOMP), Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing scheme and the Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) ringing scheme.
  • NRS and BOMP focus on the collection of productivity data at the level of the individual breeding attempt, while RAS collects survival data on species poorly covered by more general ringing. CES collects information on survival and per-season productivity. All these schemes feed demographic data into the BTO’s Integrated Population Monitoring programme.
  • Involved in development of novel monitoring schemes to collect avian productivity data, e.g. Nesting Neighbours.
  • Responsible for managing the Nest Records Organiser and the CES/RAS Organiser.
  • Involved in analysis of avian productivity data and author on over 30 refereed scientific papers, reports and reviews. Specific research interests include the effect of weather and climate change on breeding success and the role of nest predation in determining reproductive success.
  • Nest recorder, with experience of monitoring large nest box populations and finding nests of open-nesting species, and licensed bid ringer, currently holding a C Permit

Other Information

Active nest recorder, responsible for Nunnery RG submissions Active bird ringer (C permit) Council member of Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society Norfolk Mammal Recorder


BSc Biological Sciences, Oxford University PhD Avian mating systems, Lancaster University

Recent BTO Publications

Shutt, J.D., Cabello, I.B., Keogan, K., Leech, D.I., Samplonius, J.M., Whittle, L., Burgess, M.D. & Phillimore, A.B. 2019. The environmental predictors of spatio-temporal variation in the breeding phenology of a passerine bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0952) 9pp
Bell, J.R., Botham, M.S., Henrys, P.A., Leech, D.I., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Shortall, C.R., Brereton, T.M., Pickup, J. & Thackeray, S.J. 2019. Spatial and habitat variation in aphid, butterfly, moth and bird phenologies over the last half century . Global Change Biology Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14592)
Plummer, K.E., Bearhop, S., Leech, D.I., Chamberlain, D.E., Blount, J.D. 2018. Effects of winter food provisioning on the phenotypes of breeding blue tits. Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4048)
Burgess M.D., Smith K.W., Evans K.L., Leech D., Pearce-Higgins J.W., Branston C.J., Briggs K., Clark J.R., du Feu C.R., Lewthwaite K., Nager R.G., Sheldon B.C., Smith J.A., Whytock R.C., Willis S.G., Phillimore A.B. 2018. Tritrophic phenological match-mismatch in space and time. Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0543-1)
Stokke B.G., Ratikainen I.I., Moksnes A., Schulze-Hagen K., Leech D.I., Møller A.P., Fossøy F. 2018. Characteristics determining host suitability for a generalist parasite.. Scientific Reports View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-24627-1)
Franks, S.E., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Atkinson, S., Bell, J.R., Botham, M.S., Brereton, T.M., Harrington, R. & Leech, D.I. 2017. The sensitivity of breeding songbirds to change in seasonal timing is linked to population change but cannot be directly attributed to the effects of trophic asynchrony on productivity. . Global Change Biology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13960)

Other Publications

Leech, D.I., Hartley, I.R., Stewart, I.R.K., Griffith, S.G. & Burke, T. 2001. No effect of parental quality or extra-pair paternity on brood sex ratio in the blue tit Parus caeruleus. Behavioural Ecology 12: 674-680.

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