Research Fellowships awarded to BTO staff
Thanks to a generous legacy from long serving BTO member, Maxwell Hoggett, BTO has made two research fellowships available to our staff. These will enable some of our brightest young scientists to develop their ideas for innovative uses of BTO information. We have just completed the first call for these funds and have awarded two nine-month fellowships. As well as being great opportunities for the staff involved, we expect these will deliver both excellent science and significant impact for BTO, allowing us to look at things that we might otherwise not be able to.
Garden bird feeding and change
One fellowship was awarded to Dr Kate Plummer for ‘Adapting to urban life: garden bird feeding as a driver of change in British birds’. Garden bird feeding is a widespread human activity, which provides a hugely abundant and extremely reliable foraging opportunity to wild birds during winter.
This project will investigate the role of this ubiquitous resource in shaping British bird communities and help in explaining the recent rapid increase in Goldfinch populations and their use of gardens.
Bat monitoring in Norfolk
The second, ‘Bats, Bush-crickets and the science of monitoring’ was awarded to Dr Stuart Newson. Stuart established the Norfolk Bat Survey to greatly improve the recording of bats in Norfolk by loaning out automatic recorders for people to use in their gardens and elsewhere. Part of this fellowship will look at these data to understand more about how many bats are really out there and to identify their ecological requirements.
However, bats were not the only animals recorded: many bush-crickets (which ‘sing’ at night) were recorded too. Stuart will spend some time looking at these data to get a detailed picture of their distribution in Norfolk and helping to further the understanding of this fascinating group.