The decline in sales of etchings in the late 1920s and the success of Tarka drove Tunnicliffe ever more towards wood engraving as a graphic medium. He had adapted to it very quickly and the speed and proficiency with which he engraved his blocks were quite remarkable. He told the publishers of A Book of Birds (1937) that he expected to complete between seventy and eighty engravings within three months! His large independent prints, those included in the Memorial Portfolios, were produced between 1934 and the mid-1950s.
By the time Tunnicliffe was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1954 he had become recognised as one of the foremost wildlife artists of the twentieth century. He was awarded the OBE in 1978, shortly before his death the following year.