Manx BirdLife founder, Chris Sharpe, honoured in Queen's Birthday Honours List June 2021

Chris Sharpe, founder of Manx BirdLife and editor of the Isle of Man's first bird atlas, has been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2021.

Chris SharpeChris has been appointed an MBE, remarking that the award had come as a 'complete bolt out of the blue'.

Manx BirdLife was established - under its original name Manx Bird Atlas - in 1997 as a charity dedicated to undertaking the very first comprehensive census of the Isle of Man's wild birds.

Since then, the charity has been rebadged Manx BirdLife and has taken on a broader nature conservation role built on the foundation of knowledge gained through the original Manx Bird Atlas project.

Manx Bird Atlas (Ed.1 1998-2003)
Manx Bird Atlas edited by Chris Sharpe

The Manx Bird Atlas, published in 2006, is the culmination of five years of intensive field studies covering the whole of the Isle of Man. The Atlas stands as the definitive record of the state of the Island's bird life at that time, documenting the breeding and wintering populations and ranges of all regularly occurring species of this Irish Sea Island nation.

Chris left his 20-year career in the civil service to pursue a lifelong passion for ornithology. This interest stemmed from childhood days spent watching birds on the playing fields at Willaston Primary School.

According to Chris, the nicest thing to have come from his charitable work was the 'absolutely huge jump' in the number of bird sightings reported on the Island, which has leapt from about 3,000 in the late 1990s to about 70,000 in 2017. The Manx Ornithological Database managed by Manx BirdLife today holds millions of records of survey data and bird sightings gathered since 1998.

Chris is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the charity, but is currently working on various research and conservation projects. He added that while he was 'very honoured' to become an MBE, the work was a team effort.

Chris is currently National Bird Recorder for the Isle of Man and Chair of the Manx Bird Records Committee. He is also a long-standing Committee Member of the Manx Ornithological Society.