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Restoring bird populations: scaling from species to ecosystems | #BOU2020

supported by
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science
Endangered Landscapes Programme
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London


The full, timed-programme detailing sessions, etc. will be posted here January 2020


Professor Carl Jones
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
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Carl has been a conservation pioneer for decades, rescuing species from extinction and restoring their habitats.
The Alfred Newton Lecture was established in 1994 to celebrate the BOU’s founder, and is awarded by the BOU to an internationally renowned figure to address a BOU annual conference on a key topic of the conference theme.


Malcolm Ausden
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK
Managed wetland restoration and bird populations
Mary Colwell | @curlewcalls
Freelance Producer and Writer, UK
Cultural and social values in restoring bird populations – why this matters
Nicola Crockford | @numenini RSPB, UK
Working with governments to restore migratory birds and their habitats
John Ewen | @hihinews
Institute of Zoology (IoZ), Zoological Society of London (ZSL), UK
Population reintroduction and reinforcement
Julie Savidge
Colorado State University, US
Control of invasive species and restoring community structure
Joe Tobias | @ja_tobias
Imperial College London, UK
The role of birds in ecosystem restoration: ecological functions, networks and interactions
Karen Varnham
Island restoration to benefit seabirds: what have we done so far and what can we do better?


Multi-taxa consequences of restoring historic management within cultural landscapes
Robert Hawkes (University of East Anglia, UK) @Robert_W_Hawkes

The effect of rush management on upland wader nest predation: an artificial nest experiment
Leah A. Kelly (University of Sheffield, UK) @LeahKelly94

Restoring cultural landscape towards wilderness may put both avian diversity and endemism at risk: a Tibetan case study
Li Li (Peking University, China)

Evidence of flexibility and positive responses to habitat change in the European Nightjar
Lucy J. Mitchell (University of York, UK) @lucyjayneryan

Using time travelling mud (palaeolimnology) as a tool to underpin waterbird conservation and restoration
Hannah J. Robson (University College London) @hjrobson2

Restoring peatlands delivers bird population and wider ecosystem benefits
Nick Wilkinson (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK)

Evaluating created wetlands for birds, what is more important: environment, fish or amphibians?
Ineta Kačergytė (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)

Close order management of wader populations: the case for headstarting
Lynda Donaldson (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), UK) @donaldsonlynda1

Changes in social groups across reintroductions and effects on post-release survival
Victoria R. Franks (University of Cambridge, UK) @VixFranks

Why do eggs fail? A review of hatching failure in managed wild and captive bird populations
Ashleigh F. Marshall (Zoological Society of London, UK) @Belfast_Ash9

Lessons from a conservation icon: contrasting fortunes of four reintroduced populations of the Mauritius Kestrel
Malcolm Nicoll (Zoological Society of London, UK) @malcnicoll

Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program: The influence of zoo-based life experience on post-release fitness
Benjamin Pitcher (Taronga Conservation Society, Australia) @PitcherBen

Saving Black-tailed Godwits in the UK through predator management and head-starting
Jennifer Smart (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK) @drredshank

Choosing an unsuitable site for reintroduction: the case of Madagascar Pochard
Andy J Bamford (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), UK)

Evaluating joint genetic and ecological approaches to restoring a threatened bird population
Sarah Fenn (University of Aberdeen, UK) @SarahFenn11

Foraging for a foothold in a novel environment: diet specialisation influences reintroduction success
Caitlin E. Andrews (University of Cambridge, UK) @CEAndrews

A review of reintroductions of raptors in Europe: the importance of innovative techniques and post-reintroduction monitoring
Staffan Roos (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK & Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden) @roos_staffan

A three-pronged approach to recovering the critically endangered Plains-wanderer – the worlds most evolutionary distinct endangered bird
Matt Cameron (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Australia)

Land sparing for birds and multiple ecosystem services
Tom Finch (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK) @tomfinch89

A structured approach to recovery planning for New Zealand’s rarest breeding bird
Thalassa McMurdo Hamilton (Zoological Society of London, UK) @tha_lassie

Changes in the availability of the vulture-toxic drug diclofenac in South Asia and its impact on the recovery of three critically endangered Gyps vultures
John W. Mallord (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK)

Ongoing efforts to save the critically endangered Liben Lark in Ethiopia
Simon Wotton (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK)

Evidence of Shifting Baseline Syndrome in public perceptions of UK bird population change
Lizzie P. Jones (Royal Holloway, UK) @LizzieJones42

Restoring farmland bird populations through landscape-scale restoration: predicting the extent of agri-environment provision needed to reverse population declines of farmland birds in England
Elwyn Sharps (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science & Centre for Ecology & Hydrology UK) @elwynsharps

Overcoming behavioural Allee effects in avian reintroductions: the case of the Puerto Rican parrot in the El Yunque rainforest
Thomas H. White (Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program)

Can trait-based bird assemblages predict species-level responses to landscape structure? Informing conservation interventions in Neotropical human-modified landscapes
Tom Bradfer-Lawrence (University of Stirling, UK) @_EcologyTom

The ability of functional diversity metrics to measure different aspects of ecosystem functioning
Lisbeth Hordley (University of Reading, UK) @LisbethHordley

Selection process for offered orals

  • We received 37 oral submissions: 19 (54%) from women and 17 (46%) from men.
  • 16 (43%) of submissions were from early career researchers (ECRs).
  • Our selection panel comprised two men and two women.
  • Submissions were scored blind on scientific merit alone (i.e. abstracts were anonymised before circulation).
  • Using the median scores of the four panel members, submissions were ranked and the final selection was then made to fit the slots in the themed sessions of the conference programme as advertised (sessions don’t receive equal submissions with some being over-subscribed and others under-subscribed).
  • Presentations from 14 women (38% of overall submissions and 73.5% of submissions from women) and 13 men (35% of overall submissions and 76.5% of submissions from men) have received oral slots in the programme.
  • Presentations from four men (11% of overall submissions and 23.5% of submissions from men) and five woman (13.5% of overall submissions and 26.5% of submissions from women) have not been selected for oral presentation.
  • 12 (75%) of the 16 ECR submissions have been selected for the oral programme.
  • We’re still finalising which of the unsuccessful oral submissions are offered poster places.

Scientific Programme Committee

David Douglas | RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK
Nancy Ockendon | Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP), UK
Geoff Hilton | Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), UK
Amanda Trask | Institute of Zoology (IoZ), Zoological Society of London (ZSL), UK
Image Credits
Female Great Hornbill | Angadachappa | CC BY SA 4.0 via ky.m.wikipedia.org

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