Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bird Science as a career

It is about time this blog received some input, the birding element is actually a huge part of my current career activities. In fact, I’ve been a birder and general naturalist for more years than I care to remember. However, in recent times, I have matured into a more inquisitive individual, always on the search for answers to nature’s riddles.

A fascinating article I recently read was in Animal Conservation from The Zoological Society of London entitled “How can quantitative ecology be attractive to young scientists? Balancing computer/desk work with fieldwork**

*official doi is listed at the bottom of this post, however you can view here for full free access to the above article

Well, I can proudly say I am a keen advocate of both. The recent Bird Atlas is a fine example of data gathering at its very best. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 contained some 19 million observations of 502 bird species recorded as either breeding or wintering within the United Kingdom. As with any Atlas project there were several intriguing accounts, but for me the questions remain, what are the Conservation Professionals to do with all this freshly acquired data? Can you or I, as a result of our data being shared with them, change things for the better for those species already threatened? This clearly is a case of where gathering field observations alongside number-crunching by expert Data Analysts could lead to a better future for our birds and more effective conservation practice. Yes or no!

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade's

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade’s

For a great many bird species these declines continue unabated. The reasons contemplated are wide-ranging and have been discussed at length in journal publications and articles on a global-level. So why are we not making the anticipated progress? In a lot of circumstances I guess public misconception of sound conservation practice and a lack of understanding of population dynamics may well play a part. This has to be an opportunity for “old dogs” to teach upcoming youth “new tricks”. Get out there, observe and learn from nature, pick up those books when back from the field and become the nature detectives and ornithology scientists of the future.


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