Professor of Evolution & Behaviour
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield
Involved with the BOU as:
BOU member since: 1972
Why are you a member of the BOU?
This is one of the oldest ornithological societies in the world: I’m proud to be a part of that.
What is your role on the BOU Council or committee on which you sit?
I have served on BOU Council twice over the years – and thoroughly enjoyed it and felt I was contributing to something very worthwhile.
What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
A strong community of like-minded ornithologists and a good journal
What would you say to anyone who is considering joining (or leaving!) the BOU?
When did your interest in ornithology begin?
As a boy. I’ve never looked back and feel grateful that I have been able to make my hobby my career.
What is your most memorable bird-y experience?
So many! Sitting in the rain forest in Costa Rica in (yes, literally in) an Orange-collared Manakin lek and seeing copulations at close range.
What is your favourite outdoor place and why?
Skomer Island. I’ve worked on Guillemots there for over 40 years, returning each year to monitor Guillemot survival, breeding success and numbers.
What do you predict to be the future big research areas in ornithology?
Emotions in birds
On-going developments in molecular biology
What would you say to anyone considering research in ornithology?
If you could visit anywhere in the world, that you haven’t yet been to, where would it be and why?
New Guinea – there are some nice birds there: a hot spot of sexual selection
What are the big conservation challenges in the next decade?
Climate change and over-population
Has your career in ornithology turned out how you expected it to?
Better than I imagined. I love teaching undergraduates, I love research (but hate administration); I love talking to the public about science and in particular, how we know what we know about birds.