Brian Bell (ornithologist)

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Brian Douglas Bell QSM (5 March 1930 – 1 October 2016) was a New Zealand environmental consultant and ornithologist.

Born in 1930, Bell grew up in Marlborough and Canterbury. Surrounded by hills, braided riverbeds, islands and rocky coasts, he soon became deeply interested in natural history.[1]

He worked for the New Zealand Wildlife Service between 1957 and 1987 on the management and conservation of threatened species.[2] Bell, along with Don Merton, was part of the ultimately unsuccessful attempt in 1964 to save the South Island snipe, the greater short-tailed bat, and the New Zealand bush wren from extinction after the invasion of Big South Cape Island by rats.[3]

Bell was awarded the Queens Service Medal for public services in the 1984 Queen's Birthday Honours.[4] He was a member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU), and was elected a Fellow of the RAOU in 1990. He was president of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand (OSNZ) from 1972 to 1979, and again from 1989 to 1995. He was awarded the OSNZ Robert Falla Memorial Award in 1987, and elected a Fellow of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand in 1998.[5]

Bell died in Marlborough on 1 October 2016.[6]


  1. ^ Moors, P.J. (1990). "RAOU fellow: citation". EMU Austral Ornithology. CSIRO. 90 (4): 272–73. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Walker, Rosanne (24 May 2006). "Bell, Brian Douglas". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Mulligan, Jesse; Toki, Nicola (14 October 2016). "Critter of the Week". RNZ. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "No. 49769". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 1984. p. 3. 
  5. ^ Libby, Robin (2001). The Flight of the Emu: a hundred years of Australian ornithology 1901–2001. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84987-3. 
  6. ^ "Brian Bell death notice". New Zealand Herald. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 

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