Above picture: Proudly sporting his BirdLife South Africa beanie, Peter Harrison leads an Apex Expeditions voyage along the Antarctic Peninsula in February 2023; photograph by Shirley Metz

The Mouse-Free Marion Project is pleased to announce its first Patron. He is Peter Harrison MBE, author and illustrator of seabird identification guides. Peter has devoted his life to observing, photographing, painting and writing about the seabirds of the world. His first book, the critically acclaimed Seabirds: An Identification Guide, published in 1983 and illustrated by himself, was both a handbook and a field guide, long considered to be the bible of seabird identification. It has now been superseded by his latest work, Seabirds: The New Identification Guide, published in 2021. Comprising 600 pages with 239 completely new full-colour plates, this book contains more than 3800 illustrations plus full-supporting text, maps, and identification keys that describe and discuss the world’s 435 species of seabirds.

Peter Harrison’s new seabird guide

In recognition of his work in natural history and his global conservation efforts, Peter was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Honours list in 1994. He was also awarded the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Conservation Gold Medal in 2012.

British born, but now largely domiciled on the USA’s west coast, Peter accompanied BirdLife South Africa’s Flock to Marion 2022 voyage on the MSC Orchestra in January 2022, acting as one of the specialist seabird guides for the 1500 bird watchers aboard and as a highly appreciated lecturer. Peter has stated that the many albatrosses seen from the vessel when sailing close to the island made for one of his best seabird-watching days ever. As a co-founder of the global travel company, Apex Expeditions, Peter continues to lead expeditions throughout the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, sharing his passion for seabirds and advocating for seabird conservation.

Peter writes: “I had the privilege of visiting Marion and Prince Edward Islands in 1983 as a guest of the South African National Antarctic Programme and the University of Cape Town’s FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Now, nearly four decades later, as its first Patrons, I am pleased to offer my support toward the Mouse-Free Marion Project that will help conserve the albatrosses and petrels which desperately need our protection and stewardship.”

The Wandering Albatross plate and accompanying text from Seabirds. The New Identification Guide

The Mouse-Free Marion Project welcomes its first Patron and looks forward to working
closely with Peter as it prepares to eradicate House Mice on the largest island ever attempted in a single operation.

Selected Publications

Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds an Identification Guide. Beckenham: Croom Helm. 448 pp.
Harrison, P. 1987. Seabirds of the World. A Photographic Guide. Bromley: Christopher Helm. 317 pp.
Harrison, P., Perrow, M. & Larsson, H. 2021. Seabirds. The New Identification Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. 600 pp.

John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 07 March 2023


The Mouse-Free Marion Project is a registered non-profit company (No. 2020/922433/08) in South Africa, established to eradicate the invasive albatross-killing mice on Marion Island in the Southern Ocean. The project was initiated by BirdLife South Africa and the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. Upon successful completion, the project will restore the critical breeding habitat of over two million seabirds, many globally threatened, and improve the island’s resilience to a warming climate. For more information or to support the project please visit mousefreemarion.org.