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20 November 2018


1600 – 1850 UTC

Moderator: @JodyAllair | @ BirdStudiesCan , Canada


UTC 1600 | Nicky Clayton @nickyclayton22
UTC 1200 | University of Cambridge, UK

Cognitive behaviour in crows

Nicky will discuss the social cognition of corvids, members of the crow family that includes ravens, jays and magpies. The focus will be on two aspects of their behaviour, one competitive and one cooperative; namely (1) their ability to hide food caches and rely on memory to recover their own caches and pilfer (steal) those of other birds they have seen cache and (2) their ability to share food with their mate during the breeding season. These birds are extremely intelligent with huge brains relative to body size~ on a parr with those of chimpanzees and other non-human great apes. Given the complexity and flexibility of their decision making, when it comes to cognition, these birds are “feathered apes”.

Nicky Clayton FRS is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Society. She is also Scientist in Residence at Rambert, and co-founder of a science-arts collaboration The Captured Thought. She has been passionate about birds all of her life. It is her love of birds that drew her to become both a scientist and a dancer.


1630 UTC | Andrew Bladon @Andrew_Bladon
UTC 1200 | University of Cambridge, UK

Behavioural thermoregulation and climatic range restriction in the globally threatened Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni

Climate may influence a species’ distribution or abundance through numerous demographic and ecological processes, but many proximate drivers remain unknown. The Ethiopian Bush-crow is an Endangered corvid endemic to southern Ethiopia, yet its favoured habitats are widespread and it is behaviourally adaptable. Using environmental niche models and observations of thermally-mediated behaviour, we assessed whether the Bush-crowŠ—Ès distribution can be explained by its behavioural responses to higher temperatures. We compared the results with two ecologically similar sympatric species with larger ranges, the White-crowned and Superb Starlings. Our results suggest the Bush-crows’ restricted range reflects an inability to cope with higher temperatures.

1640 UTC | Jennifer Smart @ drredshank
UTC 1200 | RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK

Managing a conservation conflict – diversionary feeding to reduce raptor predation at seabird colonies

What can you do when predator and prey are protected species of conservation concern but the predatory impact of one on the other is significant? Until now solutions were limited but our new study shows that diversionary feeding could be the answer to managing an increasing number of these conservation conflicts. In our study, Kestrels were preying on chicks at an internationally important Little Tern colony. We used long-term annual monitoring over 17 years combined with 4-years of more intensive monitoring where diversionary food was provided in some years to test whether diversionary feeding reduced Kestrel predation and increased Little Tern productivity.

1650 UTC | Henrietta Pringle @HenPringle
UTC 1200 | British Trust for Ornithology, UK

Do gamebird releases affect the distribution and abundance of generalist predators?

Every year, around 40 millions captive-bred Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges are released in Britain. Of those released, only some are shot, leaving a surplus that has steadily increased since the 1960s, potentially adding significantly to the food resource available to predators and scavengers. If this extra food availability subsidises predator populations, gamebird releases could increase predation pressure on other wild birds, affecting their populations. Using three national datasets, we examine the spatial relationships between reared and free-roaming gamebirds, and explore spatial and temporal associations between gamebirds and five species of avian predator in lowland rural Britain.

1700 UTC | Jennifer Smart @ drredshank
UTC 1200 | RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, UK

Who’s eating who? A review of predation as a limiting factor for birds

The impact of predation is a widely debated and contentious subject which has resulted in many high quality studies over the last few decades. Here we present results from a systematic review of 81 studies including 90 species and 908 cases where the effect of one or more predator species on a prey species had been measured. We examine predator trends and abundance and assess whether predation limits the population sizes of UK birds. We also identify the life history traits that are important predictors of whether a species is more likely to be limited by predation and the predator species that are most commonly associated with limiting their prey.

UTC 1710 | BREAK
1740 UTC | Camilo Carneiro @Camilo_Carneiro
UTC 1200 | University of Aveiro, Portugal and University
UTC 1200 | of Iceland

Does quality of wintering areas affect breeding phenology and investment of Icelandic Whimbrels?

Many waders breed at high latitudes where timing is crucial and winter in temperate and tropical coastal areas. At each wintering site, individuals face distinct trade-offs which can affect their state and potentially carry-over to subsequent stages of the annual cycle.
We measured the energetic balance of Whimbrels at three wintering sites, located in different climatic regions. In Iceland, laying date and egg volume were recorded. Using stable isotopes from feathers grown during winter and geolocator tracking, 207 breeding individuals were assigned a wintering region. Here, we investigate possible carry-over effects of wintering site on breeding phenology and investment.

1750 UTC | Charles van Rees @GuloThoughts
UTC 1200 | Fulbright, Spain / Estacion Biologica de Donana,
UTC 1200 | Spain / Tufts University, US

Using Multiple Sources of Evidence to Investigate Density-Dependent Population Dynamics in Endangered Hawaiian Stilts

Hawaiian Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus knudsenii) are an endangered subspecies of the Black-necked Stilt endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Although considerable effort has been put into monitoring this taxon across time, the main drivers of their population dynamics are poorly understood. We used time series data of statewide abundance and reproductive success to test for evidence of density-dependent population dynamics in Hawaiian Stilts. Across several frequentist and Bayesian methodological approaches, density-dependent models best fit observed population dynamics, and we found a strong negative correlation between local density and nest success at a major breeding site.

1800 UTC | Tereza Senfeldova @penguin_tereza
UTC 1200 | University of Aberdeen, UK

Taxonomic status of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi

The Canary Islands Oystercatcher was a range-restricted species of uncertain taxonomic affinity that was last collected in 1913 and is considered to have gone extinct shortly after. We isolated and sequenced fragments of three mitochondrial genes from two museum specimens of H. meadewaldoi. These sequences were aligned with all available oystercatcher sequences. At these loci, H. meadewaldoi was nearly identical to Eurasian Oystercatcher H. ostralegus samples from Europe and fell within the range of genetic variation observed in that species. We conclude that H. meadewaldoi can be considered a recently diverged melanistic morph or subspecies of H. ostralegus.

1810 UTC | Marcello D’Amico @MaD_OnTheRoad
UTC 1200 | CIBIO-InBIO & CEABN-InBIO, Portugal

Drivers of bird nesting on anthropogenic structures: a case study on storks and power lines

Power lines increase bird mortality through collision or electrocution, but electricity pylons are also used for nesting by some species. We describe an empirical modelling approach to predict the circumstances under which White Storks Ciconia ciconia use electricity pylons in Portugal. In a country-level census, we found 1348 nests in 668 of the 8680 very-high-tension pylons occurring in the stork distribution range. The main driver of pylon use was nearness to major feeding areas. Pylon type and age, and regional population density, had comparatively less importance. Our approach can be used both for species conservation and minimizing damage to infrastructures.

1820 UTC | Kate Rogerson @Katiebee1991
UTC 1200 | University of East Anglia, UK

Disentangling impacts of landfill sites and migratory strategy on the survival of a partially migratory bird using GPS transmitters

Many migratory species have changed their migratory behaviour in recent decades and some previously wholly migratory species now have resident populations in their breeding locations. White Stork populations became partially migratory in Southern Europe, possibly facilitated by year-round utilisation of organic waste from landfill sites. Our analysis shows the survival of tracked adults (68) and juveniles (98) was lowest during the breeding season and autumn migration. Adult survival was negatively influenced by nest proximity to landfill sites and migratory distance. Landfill sites, which facilitated White Stork residency, are closing across Europe which will influence the survival rates of this species.

1830 UTC | Jack Hruska @picathartes25
UTC 1200 | Texas Tech University, US

A phylogenomic investigation of the relationships among herons (Aves: Ardeidae)

While composition of Herons (Ardeidae) is now uncontroversial, several relationships within the family are still debated. Currently, five subfamilies, 18-19 genera, and 63-66 species are recognized. Previous studies were hampered by incomplete sampling or produced poorly supported phylogenies. The present study attempts to address these shortcomings and provide the first robust phylogenetic hypothesis for the family. We sequenced Ultraconserved Elements (UCEs) for 18 genera and 45 species, and produced preliminary phylogenetic hypotheses using maximum likelihood (ML) and coalescent methods. Our results support some previously suggested hypotheses, such as the inferred placement of Agamia agami as sister to the Bitterns (Botuarinae), Day Herons (Ardeinae) and Night-herons (Nycticoracinae).

1840 UTC | Tom Auer @tom_auer
UTC 1200 | Cornell Lab of Ornithology, US

eBird Status and Trends: modeling eBird Data for Conservation

Since 2002, eBird has evolved into the largest biodiversity monitoring system in existence, with a database containing over 500 million bird observations, providing an unparalleled source of fine-scale, year-round biodiversity data. Building on a decade of research at the interface of ecology and data science, we have developed an analytical workflow to produce estimates about a species in four categories: range, relative abundance, habitat association/avoidance, and trends. We have analyzed a strategically selected set of 100 North American species and published the results on eBird. This presentation will introduce the website and the four categories of visualizations and products available.

1850 UTC | BREAK

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Tweeting guidelines
Session 1 (commences 1200 UTC, 20 November)
Session 2 (commences 1600 UTC, 20 November)
Session 3 (commences 1930 UTC, 20 November)
Session 4 (commences 0700 UTC, 21 November)
Session 5 (commences 0900 UTC, 21 November)
Session 6 (commences 1110 UTC, 21 November)
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