James Ferguson-Lees

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James Ferguson-Lees is a British ornithologist.

Life and work[edit]

Ferguson-Lees spent his early years in Italy and France, but was educated in Bedford, England. He turned down the chance to study zoology at Oxford University in order to get married, and became a teacher for seven years.[1] As a boy, he was taught about birds by Bernard Tucker.

He was also a twitcher, once driving through the night to see a Dusky Thrush at Hartlepool.[1]

In 1952 Max Nicholson persuaded him to become Assistant Editor of British Birds, then two years later, Executive Editor.[1]

He was a member of the British Birds Rarities Committee from (1959-1963) and was responsible, with John Nelder and Nicholson, for debunking the Hastings Rarities - a series of rare birds, preserved by a taxidermist and provided with bogus histories.[2]

Ferguson-Lees has made a particular study of Peregrines and Dunnocks.[1]

He has at least two sons and two daughters.[1]




  • Nicholson, E.M.; & Ferguson-Lees, I.J. (1962). The Hastings Rarities. British Birds (August 1962) 55(8): 281.


  1. ^ a b c d e Ferguson-Lees, James (Spring 1926). "Personalities 40, SC". Bird Notes (RSPB) 30 (2): 49. 
  2. ^ Nicholson & Ferguson-Lees, 1962.