Becky Thomas

Teaching Fellow
Royal Holloway University of London, UK

Follow Becky on Twitter @BeckyMicrocebus ‏

Involved with the BOU as:
Engagement Committee member

BOU member since: 2015

Most likely to be found . . .
. . . in my office unfortunately, but otherwise out walking my dog with my binoculars

Why are you a member of the BOU?
I originally joined the BOU to attend the Annual Conference in 2016 on Urban Birds, but I’ve stayed a member because I very quickly began to feel part of an important community. I loved hearing all of the excellent talks and getting to chat to everyone at the conference, but after that I started reading more about the BOU (especially on their blog), and was then invited to join the Engagement Committee. I am really keen to support the BOU as much as I can and am looking forward to attending future meetings.

What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the BOU?
The BOU does a great job of involving people from all backgrounds, but especially ECR members and this means that you get to be part of a really vibrant ornithological community.

What would you say to anyone who is considering joining (or leaving!) the BOU?
Do it for the conferences and stay for the community that you develop once you’re a member. Make sure you check out the blog and all of the funding opportunities available.

When did your interest in ornithology begin?
I was always interested in natural history and ecology but my interest in ornithology started a bit later when I was at university. I found bird identification daunting at first, but now I’m lucky enough to teach students about birds and it’s a big focus of my research.

What do you predict to be the future big research areas in ornithology?
Urban ecology! How do we make best use of the space that we have available so we can live alongside wildlife? With human populations growing, we’re encroaching more and more on areas that are important for wildlife and it’s really important that we start thinking about how to make our urban environments work for birds and other species.

Why birds?
Birds are so accessible, anyone can put up a feeder or nest box and start watching the birds in their garden and there are so many books to help people get started. Birds are also a great way to get people into citizen science, collecting ‘big data’ for research and engaging people in natural history. And to top it off there is such a supportive ornithological research community out there, supported by the BOU.

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