Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Jonathan Hardey, BSc (died 19 July 2019, aged 69)

Obituary available online

A peregrine falcon "fanatic", who quite literally wrote the book on birds of prey, has died aged 69.


Jon Hardey was a member of the north-east branch of the Scottish Raptor Study Group and devoted decades of his life to studying the winged animals.


Born in Birmingham in 1950, Mr Hardey went to school in Helensburgh and Yorkshire.


He then took on a degree in Zoology at Queen's University Belfast, graduating in 1973.


Two years later, he moved to Aberdeen to study ecology and met his wife-to-be Lorna while on a field trip in the Highlands.


In 1984, Mr Hardey was named principal teacher of biology at Westhill Academy and spent many years delighting youngsters with tales about his specialist subjects.


He is fondly remembered by large numbers of former pupils, with stories about his unique study animals - which included a toad and a tarantula - still told to this day.


Outwith the classroom, the teacher specialised in researching peregrine falcons.


He had been encouraged to do so by his idol, Derek Ratcliffe, who was behind world-leading literature revealing the effects of pesticides on eggshell thinning in the 1950s and 1960s.


Building on the efforts of others, Mr Hardey helped to continue a project monitoring the peregrine populations in Deeside, Angus and Speyside.


In 2003, he published a paper with colleagues on the breeding patterns of the birds in various locations across Scotland, having gathered data between 1991 and 2000.


It was one of the first to highlight the link between a lack of success while mating and the high levels of illegal poaching associated with grouse moors.


Mr Hardey is perhaps best recognised in the sector for establishing the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme.


It was founded in 2002 and in the following years he led a team developing methods for surveying and monitoring raptors, publishing a book on the topic in 2006.


In addition to the outdoors, he enjoyed following the Scottish national rugby team and cheering on the side during fixtures at Murrayfield.


He died on July 19, aged 69, and is survived by his wife Lorna, children John, Paddy and Alison, sister Nicky and brother Mike. 

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