David Hunt (ornithologist)

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David Bassil Hunt (1934, Devonport, Plymouth[1] – 22 February 1985) was an English ornithologist who worked on the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the south west coast of England. He was killed by a tiger, the first European to suffer this fate for many decades.[2]

Brought up on the Yealm estuary, he attended Gresham's School in Norfolk and, in 1954 studied art and went on to work as a professional jazz trombonist in Germany. On returning to Britain he worked as a "horticulturalist" which led to Tresco on the Isles of Scilly, and the Island Hotel where he became the gardener in 1964. He was based on the Isles of Scilly for many years, working as an international birding tour guide.


He was killed by a Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park, in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand in northern India, while leading a bird tour there,[2] the same year that his autobiography, Confessions of a Scilly Birdman, was published. As a result of this incident, visitors are now forbidden to walk on the territory of the Jim Corbett National Park any time of the day if they are unattended by a certified guide.


  1. ^ http://search.findmypast.co.uk/results/world-records/england-and-wales-births-1837-2006?firstname=david%20b&lastname=hunt&eventyear=1934&eventyear_offset=0&mothersmaidenname=bassil
  2. ^ a b Flumm, D. S. "Obituary". In Rogers, M. J. (ed.) (1985) Isles of Scilly Bird Report 1984. Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society.
  • Oddie, Bill (1994). Follow That Bird! Around the world with a passionate bird-watcher. London: Robson Books. p. 172. ISBN 0-86051-919-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hunt, David (1985). Confessions of a Scilly Birdman. London: Croom Helm. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-7099-3724-1.