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21 November 2018


1110 – 1315 UTC

Moderator: @Katiebee1991 | @uniofeastanglia, UK


1110 UTC | Vicki Pattison-Willits @BlueTitEcology
UTC 1200 | University of Birmingham, UK

Does city living buffer the effects of extreme weather on breeding in an urban-adapted bird?

My research explores how the dual challenge of urbanization and extreme weather events affect breeding phenology and success in the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Six years of breeding data has been collected and analysed from a network of >300 nest-boxes positioned along an urban gradient in Birmingham, UK. I will share how breeding within the complex city-scape is affected by fine-scale changes in the amount and connectivity of green-space. I will then introduce how we are using modelling of high-resolution satellite and ground-based weather data to determine if the urban environment buffers or exacerbates the effects of extreme-weather during breeding.

1120 UTC | Edgar Bernat Ponce @edberpon
UTC 1200 | ICBiBE, University of Valencia, Spain

New park policies, new House Sparrow problems

House Sparrows are experiencing severe declines in Europe. Several hypotheses have been suggested. Our aim was to detect if House Sparrow populations of parks that suffer modern changes (plastic grass, paving and dog areas) decline at higher rates than those of parks without alterations. The abundance of sparrows in 32 parks (4 locations) of the Valencian Community (Spain) was recorded by point counts in 4 summer seasons (2015-2018). Ten parks suffered changes during the study. Growth rates between seasons were calculated in both kinds of parks. Populations decreased at higher rates in modified parks. New urban policies are urgently needed.

1130 UTC | Lucy Magoolagan @lucymagoolagan
UTC 1200 | Lancaster University, UK

The effect of early life conditions on song traits in male Dippers (Cinclus cinclus)

The quality and quantity of song produced by adults may reflect the stress experienced during early life, known as the ‘developmental stress hypothesis’. We tested this using song and life-history data from a population of wild dippers. Adult song complexity positively correlated with their body condition as nestlings. Nestling provisioning rate predicted song rate; males in poor condition or those raised in smaller broods which were fed more, sang at a higher rate in adulthood. These results support the developmental stress hypothesis and provide evidence from a wild bird of how the conditions experienced during early life impact adult song.

1140 UTC | Jez Smith @PiedflyWales
UTC 1200 | Cardiff University, UK

Integral Projection Models using Pied flycatchers: What will happen to migratory woodland birds?

Predictions of population level change of birds can now be achieved using Integral Projection Models provided that 3 traits can be measured (adult survival, laying date & reproductive output). Using a long-term dataset on Pied Flycatchers from south Wales I assess their decline and potential future local extinction using an IPM. Generalised Linear Models are used see how laying date influences each trait i.e. do earlier laying birds have a higher survival probability.

These models allow us to see which stressors are having most influence on the population and what management strategies can be adopted to most effectively counteract them.

1150 UTC | Stuart Newson @NewsonStuart
UTC 1200 | British Trust for Ornithology, UK

Calling in the dark: a unique conservation tool for monitoring nocturnal wildlife

Over recent years, I have been involved in developing automated acoustic identification routines in the UK for bats and bush-crickets. However, other species groups including birds and mammals could also be recorded concurrently. Here I present recent work to extend our classifier to nine species of nocturnal bird, which are poorly monitored through existing schemes: Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Stone Curlew, Curlew, Woodcock, European Nightjar, Grasshopper Warbler and Nightingale. We do this by considering larger suite of potential confusion species, including other birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and anthropogenic and abiotic noise which may be recorded in the field.

1200 UTC | Tom Finch @tomfinch89
UTC 1200 | RSPB Centre for Conservation Science

Comparing the potential effects of the land sparing-sharing continuum on UK breeding birds

Globally, the expansion and intensification of agriculture is a leading driver of biodiversity loss. Two contrasting solutions have been proposed, through which a regional food production target could be delivered. Land sparing involves maximising food production on farmland, thus potentially sparing large blocks of land for conservation. In contrast, land sharing involves wildlife-friendly farming over a larger area, with no land available to be spared for conservation. We present the first test of land sparing and land sharing in western Europe, and show that by freeing-up land for conservation, high-yield farming could maximise biodiversity outcomes even in long-converted landscapes.

1210 UTC | Jenni Border @JenniBorder
UTC 1200 | British Trust for Ornithology, UK

Can climate matching predict the climatic suitability of the UK for non-native birds?

Non-native species are spreading at unprecedented rates. We assess climatic suitability throughout the UK based on the apparent match to the climate in species’ native ranges and investigate potential climatic limitation within the non-native range. Climate matching suggests that 69 of 167 non-native bird species could currently find climatically suitable territory for establishment in the UK. However, observed occurrences of non-native species in the UK were not significantly correlated to climatic suitability. Improvements to climate matching techniques and ongoing surveillance are required to support effective management policies.

1220 UTC | Steve Dudley @ stevedudley_
UTC 1200 | BOU, UK

#TheTweetingBird: its rise, relevance and impact in ornithology – revisited

Science communication is as fast moving as science itself, and in recent years social media have come to the fore as important tools used for communicating science at the peer-to-peer and wider interested public levels. Within ornithology, Twitter is clearly the dominant platform with thousands of active users reaching a daily audience of over 500,000 people.

The rapid growth of online tools to communicate science raises the important question of whether online attention is associated with citations in the scholarly literature. The Altmetric Attention Score (AAS) quantifies the attention received by a scientific publication on various online platforms including news media, blogs and social media. It has been advanced as a rapid way of gauging the impact of a piece of research, both in terms of potential future scholarly citations and wider online engagement. Here I highlight the increasing evidence that social media activity does contribute to citations in ornithology, and how your own social media activity can contribute to this.


1230 UTC | Mary Colwell @curlewcalls
UTC 1200 | Freelance producer. Author of Curlew Moon, UK

Communicating science: the plight of the Curlew

Sometimes, it helps to have something to hang your hat on, to coalesce around a cause that is wide ranging and urgent so that it brings many different people together. Curlew conservation does the job very well. Curlews are the UK’s largest wading bird, they inhabit wetlands, moors, meadows and marsh and have utterly beautiful calls. In the breeding season the rising trill or bubbling call rings out over the landscape, heralding spring. In the winter the characteristic curlee fires through the air and is haunting and lonesome. Yet, despite being woven into our art, literature, poetry and music, it is disappearing from the land. A combination of intensification of farming, an increase in predator pressure and spread of forestry have acted against it breeding successfully. Over the last two years I have tried to find out how to bring them back, and in doing so held 4 national conferences in Ireland, S England, Wales and Scotland. These have attracted people from  all sections of society, which has been both hopeful and inspiring. Conservation is not about nature, it is about getting people to work together. This presentation shows what has happened for curlews and how this might be good news for landscapes throughout Britain and Ireland.

Mary Colwell is a producer and writer. In 2016 she walked 500 miles across Ireland, Wales and England to find out what is happening to our largest wading bird, the Curlew. She is author of Curlew Moon, published by William Collins in April 2018. Mary was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology’s Dilys Breese Medal in 2017.

1300 UTC | CONFERENCE CLOSE | Closing remarks and thanks

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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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