Meet . . . members of BOU Council
Prof Juliet Vickery
Chair, Equality & Diversity Working Group
Juliet’s interest in ornithology started at Oxford with an undergraduate project on swifts and a DPhil on Dippers. ‘Hooked for life’ she went on to a Post doc at the University of East Anglia and research posts at Scottish Natural Heritage, University of Edinburgh and the British Trust for Ornithology. Juliet is now Head of the International Conservation Science in the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, an Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her own work focuses mainly on the impact of land use change on farmland and migratory birds and ways to integrate conservation and human development. The research of her RSPB team underpins the conservation of threatened sites, species and habitats throughout the world and strives to help build the scientific capacity of in-country partner organisations. She is committed to building an equal and diverse community of future conservation scientists and serves on steering committees of the Cambridge MPhil in Conservation Leadership, the Cambridge Student Conference on Conservation Science and is a member of the Darwin Initiative Expert Committee. Outside work she spends most of her time in the triathlon world of swimming, cycling and running.
Email Juliet | Follow Juliet on Twitter @juliet_vickery
Neil lives in Berkshire, and is a solicitor practising in Guildford. He became interested in birds while at school, and has pursued this interest ever since. He has participated in survey work both as fieldworker and organiser for some 40 years, serving as a local WeBS organiser for many years and helping organise two local atlas bird projects and the publication of the results in two editions of a county avifauna. He has served two terms as chair and one as president of the Berkshire (formerly Reading) Ornithological Club. He has been involved with the BOU for many years, as member of the former Ornithological Affairs Committee, as member of Council and serving as Honorary Secretary for nine years, and as Vice President since 2015. He has also served as Honorary Secretary of the BTO, and is the Chair of the British Birds Charitable Trust, which owns the company which publishes British Birds.
He is particularly interested in inland waterbirds, having covered the same WeBS sites for over 35 years, and in putting the information derived from surveys to use in local conservation. His ambition is to be able to devote more time towards this, particularly in outreach to the farming community to encourage better practice, once he retires from practice – hopefully in a year or two’s time.
Neil was awarded the BOU’s Union Medal in 2013 for services to the BOU and ornithology.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilBucknell
Prof Tony Fox
Tony cannot remember a time when he was not obsessed by birds and feels deeply privileged that anyone should employ him to follow his hobby! His research life started with a Ph.D spent up to his waist in peat studying the hydrological budget of a coastal Welsh raised bog. However, after two ornithological expeditions to west Greenland and two years working for the Nature Conservancy Council in the Scottish Highlands, he moved to the (then) Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge to specialise in waterbird research, a field in which he has concentrated ever since. He moved from being Head of Research at WWT to work for the Ministry of the Environment in Denmark in 1993, becoming part of Aarhus University in 2011, where he is currently Research Professor in Waterbird Ecology. His current research work lacks any sensible focus, straying from sea duck ecology to effects of lake eutrophication and predation on breeding ducks, from Little Owls to Black Woodpeckers. His professional focus continues to be on arctic geese (especially his beloved Greenland Whitefronts!) but much of his recent work through a visiting professorship with the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been centred on wintering waterbirds in the Yangtze River Floodplain.
Dr Helen Baker
Helen is Marine Species Team Leader at JNCC, responsible for managing the marine ornithology group, including UK seabird monitoring, strategic and technical advice, and offshore industry evidence and advice. Prior to this she had several roles in JNCC providing technical advice to UK government on bird conservation, research needs, natural capital, and biodiversity reporting. As part of her ornithological roles in JNCC, Helen has advised on EU Birds Directive implementation, the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, the Agreement on Albatrosses and Petrels, Ramsar, seabird conservation strategy development, Chairs the UK Seabird Monitoring Programme partnership and has been involved in the JNCC-BTO Partnership Agreement and WWT Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme.
Before working for JNCC, Helen worked for SNH on Special Protection Area designation, and before that on several research projects, including five years in Hawaii working on Hawaiian honeycreepers and Nene, and Crested Tits in Scotland for her PhD.
Helen has been involved in the BOU for more than 11 years, as a member of the Meetings Committee, an ordinary member of Council and as Honorary Secretary since 2014. As well as birding in north-east Scotland, she is a field mycologist with an interest in Russulas, records moths and plants, and makes pots.
Email Helen | Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenBinP
Graham has been the BOU’s Honorary Treasurer since 2017, having been recruited as a Trustee the year before. He had two careers, firstly as a Maths teacher and Deputy Headmaster and latterly as a fundraiser and Director of Communications for the British Trust for Ornithology. While teaching he was the Treasurer of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club and a Trustee of the BTO. More recently he has been a school governor, chairing the finance committee, and is a Pension Fund Trustee. Graham started doing BTO surveys nearly 50 years ago but his main ornithological focus is on waders, undertaking fieldwork in Iceland and the UK. He has written hundreds of articles for Shooting Times and writes his own WaderTales blog series, translating scientific research about shorebirds into stories that appeal to birdwatchers.
Follow Graham on Twitter @ grahamfappleton
Prof Phil Atkinson
Chair, Grants Committee
Phil is Head of International Research at the British Trust for Ornithology and leads the BTO’s international research program, which is diverse in nature but has a strong emphasis on collaborative projects with biological, social and economic aspects.
His past work has concentrated on understanding how environmental change will impact bird populations. Projects have included developing new methods of modelling migration routes of waterbirds and the associated risk of Avian Influenza incursion into the UK; responding to climate change in the coastal zone by the understanding the issues concerning the creation and restoration of coastal wetland habitats (managed realignment); understanding the demographic implications of environmental change on bird populations (in particular the harvesting of shellfish); the extension of demographic models to estimate total numbers of migrant birds passing through a site (turnover); using stable isotopes to study shorebird migration systems and the application of process-based (i.e. individuals-based) models to conservation issues. Currently he is focusing on a large-scale, multi-partner, landscape restoration project in Belarus and Ukraine.
He has served on the BOU’s Grants Committee for eight years, the last four as Chair.
Prof Will Cresswell
Will is Professor of Biology at St Andrews University and has been studying predator-prey interactions, and the ecology of migrant birds for the last 25 years. Current research priorities are to understand the factors determining the density and distribution of Palearctic migrants wintering in West Africa so that we can address their continuing declines in the face of anthropogenic habitat and climate change. As part of the solution he is also involved with capacity building in the region through helping to run the AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute that trains future African ornithologists.
Dr Emma Cunningham
Emma gained her BSc in Zoology from the University of Glasgow and her PhD in the breeding ecology of wildfowl from the University of Sheffield. A Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship then took her to the University of Cambridge where she worked on the impact of avian brood parasitism on host reproductive strategies in neotropical birds in Central America. Since 2014 she has been based at the University of Edinburgh, initially supported by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, where her focus has been on maternal responses to infection in gamebirds and the impact of parasitism in seabird populations. She has previously sat on Council of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour in a number of roles, been a member of NERC College and and is currently an Associate Editor for the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology. She is currently leading the development of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Adapting to Environmental Change.
Dr Francis Daunt
Chair, Meetings Committee
Francis Daunt is an ecologist whose research has focussed on the causes of population change in UK seabirds. After completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow, he joined the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) in 2001 and has spent the last two decades researching the effects of anthropogenic change on seabirds, in particular climate change (including extreme events), fisheries and marine renewables. His approach is to link behavioural ecology, life history variation and population dynamics, collaborating with statisticians and modellers to analyse key drivers of change at the individual and population level. He has published >120 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, and his research feeds into a range of policy areas including marine protection, fishery policy and sustainable development of offshore renewable developments. He coordinates the long-term study of seabird populations on the Isle of May, one of the longest running and most comprehensive of its kind in the world. He has been a member of the BOU for over two decades and a regular attendee at its annual conferences. He is an Ibis Associate Editor and chairs BOU’s Meetings Committee.
Dr Tom Finch
Early Career representative
Engagement Committee member
Tom works is a Senior Conservation Scientist with the RSPB’s Centre for Concervation Science. His interests include conservation, agriculture and bird migration. He completed his PhD at the University of East Anglia in 2016, where he studied the breeding ecology and migration of the European Roller. He sits on BOU Council as an ordinary member, and is also on the BOU Engagement Committee.
Follow Tom on Twitter @ tomfinch89
Dr James Gilroy
Chair, Records Committee
James is a Lecture in Ecology at University of East Anglia. A lifelong birder and natural historian, his childhood fascination with wildlife developed into a career studying how animals are responding to human impacts in our rapidly-changing world. Since completing a PhD studying the declines of farmland birds in the UK, his work has taken him to many countries around the world, including spending several years at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, as well as long spells in the tropics. His current research combines ecological modelling, large-scale big-data analysis and field-based studies to predict species responses to climate and land-use change, with a focus on migratory species.
James remains an obsessively keen birder (when time allows), and still pores religiously over daily weather charts in an effort to predict the arrivals of interesting species.
Dr Jen Smart
Chair, IBIS Management Committee
Species conservation is at the heart of everything I do and I am particularly keen on waders. For the last 14 years I have worked for the RSPB where as a scientist, I was trying to figure out what we could do to reverse the declines of waders breeding in wetlands. I am now the Head of Species for RSPB England which involves me ensuring that our dedicated teams working at the forefront of conservation are doing the right things for our priority species focused on the most important places for those species. I have been working with the BOU for 7 years where I currently chair the Ibis Management Committee and sit on Council and I love the open and friendly feeling of being part of the ornithology community that is the BOU. When not working I am either out on my bike, enjoying my dogs or visiting friends and family.
Follow Jen on Twitter @drredshank
Prof Rosie Trevelyan
Equality & Diversity Working Group member
Rosie is the Director of the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) and is a capacity building expert. Through the TBA, she has developed a programme of practical training combined with follow-up support that is building careers of conservation scientists and professionals from around the world. The TBA’s network spans over 70 countries and over 90% of TBA’s alumni are currently working in conservation-related fields. Rosie received the Zoological Society of London’s Silver Medal for contributions to wildlife conservation and education in 2008 and was the British Ecological Society’s equality and diversity champion, 2018. Rosie has a doctorate on the evolution of life history variation in birds from the University of Oxford. She is a founding member of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and is co-organiser of the annual Student Conference on Conservation Science.
Dr Hugh Wright
Chair, Engagement Committee
Equality & Diversity Working Group member
Hugh works for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) specialising in the science that underpins Marine Protected Area policy, both in the UK and in the UK Overseas Territories. While Hugh’s work is now largely marine focussed his educational background was in broader conservation ecology and geography. Hugh completed a PhD at the University of East Anglia on the conservation ecology of the Critically Endangered White-shouldered Ibis in rural Cambodia. Hugh is a trained seabird surveyor, a keen birder, and enjoys discovering the variety of wildlife found at the fen-edge in north Cambridgeshire.
Hugh has been involved with the BOU since his PhD days and currently chairs the Engagement Committee, overseeing the development of BOU’s engagement activities with members and the wider ornithological community. Before this, Hugh was the first Early Career representative on the Meetings Committee and then BOU Council, helping to establish the range of oppportunities that the BOU now offers to students and ornithologists beginning their careers. Recently, Hugh has helped to introduce measures to improve the inclusiveness and transparency of the BOU, moving the BOU towards its goal of ensuring equality and diversity across all of its activities.
Dr Lucy Wright
Chair, Awards Nominations Committee
Lucy has a lifelong interest in birds and now work as a Principal Conservation Scientist in the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. Her career began with various short research contracts before and after a PhD on Woodlark demography. She worked at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) as a Research Ecologist and later Research Manager focusing largely on investigating the potential impacts of developments (wind farms, tidal power, airports) on birds and advising on the designation of marine protected areas. She then moved to her current role at the RSPB in 2016, where Lucy leads a small team who provide scientific support for RSPB’s casework relating to planned developments and protected areas, and conduct research into the impacts of offshore wind farms on seabirds.
Lucy is a keen bird ringer, mostly with the Wash Wader Ringing Group, and sits on the BTO’s Ringing Committee that oversees the work of volunteer ringers across Britain and Ireland. She’s an Associate Editor for the BTO journal Bird Study. She believes that diversity, in all its forms, makes us stronger, and she wants to help the BOU to continue its work to improve equality and diversity in ornithology.
Follow Lucy on Twitter @_LucyWright