Every year members of the Conservation Ecology Group monitor and ring Blue Tits and other woodland birds using nest boxes in the woodlands around Durham University. This effort is led by Dr David Baker and Dr Steve Willis. We are currently monitoring 120 nest boxes. Most of the boxes are active and have day 3 to day 9 nestlings. Follow us on twiiter @CEGDurham for updates and photos of the nest boxes.
Monitoring nests throughout the spring provides useful information such as the timing of nesting, the numbers of eggs laid, timing of hatching, and the numbers of chicks that survive to fledge the nest. This data, combined with other nest box projects coordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology, is used to keep track of bird numbers and contributes to a growing body of knowledge on bird population trends across the country. Next year this project will contribute to incoming PhD student Claire Branston's project who will be working on a NERC-funded project, with CASE support from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). This project is titled ‘The role of climate and habitat in the reproduction and population dynamics of insectivorous birds in British woodlands’. The project will combine nestbox data collected at Durham with similar data from other sites that are co-ordinated by Ali Philimore at Edinburgh Uni, and also using the extensive data resource on nesting birds held by the BTO.
This project is also part of ongoing research within CEG to monitor the biodiversity supported by the woods around Durham University. If you are interested in helping with the nest box projects or other projects around Durham, please contact a member of CEG or Experience Durham for available opportunities. For more information about nest boxes visit the British Trust for Ornithology website.
Congratulations to Tom Keggin, an undergraduate project student with Steve Willis, for being nominated to present his work on the dawn chorus across the UK at the university ‘Rising Stars Symposium’. Tom's project used audio recorders to evaluate variation in the dawn chorus along a transect across the UK. Tom follows in the footsteps of several past group members that have presented at this symposium, which celebrates the best of undergraduate research across the university. In 2013, Waheed Arshad, one of last year’s undergraduate project students, won the Audience Choice Award for Best Presentation at the symposium for his talk on ‘Bioacoustic Monitoring: Automatically Identifying Avian Biodiversity in Woodlands’. In 2012, Emily King presented her research project on ‘Willingness to pay in the British public’. Both Waheed and Emily have since gone on to undertake postgraduate research degrees.
For more information visit: www.dur.ac.uk/science.faculty/symposium . The symposium is on Monday 23rd June 2014 in The Calman Learning Centre.
Every week MSc student Stuart Brooker is moth trapping in the woodlands around Durham University. This week was reportedly a little slow, perhaps a reflection of the poor weather we have been having! Nonetheless, below are photos from the trapping and Stu's top picks for this second week.
Tune in each week for Stu's moth updates!
Congratulations to Jamie Alison on passing his Research MSc, during which he worked on developing an indicator of the impact of climate change on North American bird populations.