Ian Newton has enjoyed lifetime interests in both farming and birds. As a child, he spent much of his time on farms, and later in life in his ‘spare time’ he managed a small commercial fruit farm producing apples and pears. Now retired, he worked throughout his career as a population ecologist, having done detailed research on finches, waterfowl and raptors. For many years he was based at Monks Wood Research Station near Huntingdon, in charge of work on pesticide impacts on wildlife. He is a past President of the British Ecological Society and the British Ornithologists’ Union, a past Chairman of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology. He has authored around 300 papers in the scientific literature, and several books, including Finches, Bird Populations and the recent Farming and Birds, all in the New Naturalist Series.