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Andrew Bladon

Andrew BladonPhD student
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK

Most likely to be found…
…Roaming the British or Ethiopian countryside

Involved with the BOU as:
ECR member

BOU member since: 2015

Why are you a member of the BOU?
The BOU offers a great deal to early career researchers – all the member benefits for only £10. Also, having received funding from the BOU for my PhD fieldwork, I wanted to start to give something back.

What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
Being part of a large community of like-minded people, with many opportunities to meet and collaborate.

Tell us a bit more about the project for which you received BOU funding?
I received funding for my PhD project, investigating the effects of temperature on two climatically range-restricted Ethiopian birds – the Ethiopian Bush-crow and White-tailed Swallow. The aim of my PhD was to build on research indicating that the species’ ranges are described by a climate envelope by investigating what the mechanisms might be, as well as how they might fare in the future. It’s been a great project with many diverse threads; from breeding and behavioural studies through to transects and distribution modelling. Results should be coming out soon!

When did your interest in ornithology begin?
When I was about 8, and I met a birder on holiday. I wandered around a farm with him each morning spotting pied wagtails and blackbirds, and I was hooked!

What is your most memorable bird-y experience?
Mist-netting a hummingbird in Peru. It was tiny and beautiful, but when we released it, the sound of its wings was incredible – it sounded like someone had started an outboard motor! I’ll never forget it.

What is your favourite outdoor place and why?
The top of Red Pike in the Lake District. It’s a bit of a challenge to get up there, but the 360o views are stunning!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, that you haven’t yet been to, where would it be and why?
Antarctica. I’ve never been to either pole, but the landscape there looks spectacular. I’d love to see it while it is still relatively unspoilt.

Has your career in ornithology turned out how you expected it to?
Not at all. As a teenager I wanted to go into reserves management as a ranger, but from undergraduate degree to voluntary research to PhD, I’ve headed more and more into research. And that is where I hope to stay.

Why birds?
They can fly, and we can’t. I’ve always found watching them on the wing spell-binding.

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