Bird Science as a career

It is about time this blog received some input, the birding element is actually a huge part of my current career activities. In fact, I’ve been a birder and general naturalist for more years than I care to remember. However, in recent times, I have matured into a more inquisitive individual, always on the search for answers to nature’s riddles.

A fascinating article I recently read was in Animal Conservation from The Zoological Society of London entitled “How can quantitative ecology be attractive to young scientists? Balancing computer/desk work with fieldwork**

*official doi is listed at the bottom of this post, however you can view here for full free access to the above article

Well, I can proudly say I am a keen advocate of both. The recent Bird Atlas is a fine example of data gathering at its very best. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 contained some 19 million observations of 502 bird species recorded as either breeding or wintering within the United Kingdom. As with any Atlas project there were several intriguing accounts, but for me the questions remain, what are the Conservation Professionals to do with all this freshly acquired data? Can you or I, as a result of our data being shared with them, change things for the better for those species already threatened? This clearly is a case of where gathering field observations alongside number-crunching by expert Data Analysts could lead to a better future for our birds and more effective conservation practice. Yes or no!

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade's http://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade’s anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/

For a great many bird species these declines continue unabated. The reasons contemplated are wide-ranging and have been discussed at length in journal publications and articles on a global-level. So why are we not making the anticipated progress? In a lot of circumstances I guess public misconception of sound conservation practice and a lack of understanding of population dynamics may well play a part. This has to be an opportunity for “old dogs” to teach upcoming youth “new tricks”. Get out there, observe and learn from nature, pick up those books when back from the field and become the nature detectives and ornithology scientists of the future.

**doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00597.x


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5 responses to “Bird Science as a career

  1. Pingback: Bird Science as a career | Garry Rogers Nature ...

  2. Hi Tony,
    I pinned and scooped (http://scoop.it/t/ecoscifi) your post. I encourage all those interested in any aspect of nature to choose a species group and begin to learn more. Among the birds, one might choose finches, owls, woodpeckers, or others. Among the plants, one might choose succulents, oaks, weeds, or many others. All species groups are declining and need their champions if their members are to survive.

    • Blimey, Thanks Garry, pinned and scooped sounds good, I’ll have to find out what all that means in time. You illustrate some very well thought out ideas there. With regard to my career, I’m rolling with the punches right now and am fortunate enough to learn about UK wildlife on the job. I hope to update these blogs over the coming months and years and will reveal more about my current farmland hedgerow bird study and others I’m involved with. We do need species champions as well as natural history mentors such as yourself. Thanks once again for popping by.

      Best Wishes

      Tony

  3. What an interesting career choice. You have the passion so your career will be enjoyable. I photograph a lot of birds and only recently joined our local Audubon and Ornithological Society as a bird watcher. I am learning quite a bit from them to add to what I already know. I see you are looking into hedgerows and the birds that use them. It is so important, yet many US farms have eliminated hedgerows and with it the birds and insects that use them.

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