Passionate bird watcher from Sheffield dies after accident abroad

Jon Hornbuckle, a bird watcher who was living in Sheffield, has died. He is pictured birding in the mountains of Kazakhstan in 2003.
Jon Hornbuckle, a bird watcher who was living in Sheffield, has died. He is pictured birding in the mountains of Kazakhstan in 2003.

A keen bird watcher who had seen and photographed over 10,000 species of bird has died months after being injured in a car crash.

Jon Hornbuckle, aged 74, who was living in Millhouses had travelled around the world to find and photograph at 9,600 birds.

In an interview with a birdwatching magazine, Jon said he was happy to devote his time to a hobby that he loved.

He said: “I think it would be fair to say that virtually everywhere I go now I have a list of what I want to see.

“Mostly it’s something like twenty species in three or four weeks, and I’m happy if I see fifteen. That’s how it works.”

His passion saw him travel to destinations across the globe, including remote locations in the Pacific such as the Solomons, New Britain, New Ireland and Manus.

He also repeatedly visited the Papua New Guinea jungle and even made it to Antarctica in 2002 . He also recorded birds he saw in cities such as New York.

Having enjoyed watching birds for all of his life, Jon was a founder member of Sheffield Bird Study Group in 1972.

Among his more unusual sightings were a pitta split, a brightly-coloured species native to Borneo, and a long-whiskered owlet in Peru.

Alongside documenting types of birds he had never seen before on an online gallery, the grand-father was also involved in conservation, helping with ringing and survey work of rare birds in countries he visited.

Jon died in Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital in February, months after being injured in a car crash in the south of France while holidaying with wife Syndy.

Sheffield Bird Study Group said: ‘Jon was well known and respected both locally and worldwide, having climbed to the top of the world bird listing tree. Our thoughts are with Jon’s family, and wife Syndy.”