Covid-19 impacts on BOU activities

[updated 29 July 2020]

As the Covid-19 global pandemic escalates, as does its impact on so many of us, personally and professionally. We sincerely hope none of you will face serious illness or worse, the tragic loss of loved ones.

Countries are now being placed in lockdown. This brings increasing pressures on individuals and on organisations and employers.

BOU2020 annual conference postponed

Sadly, on 13 March we felt we had no choice other than to cancel our annual conference (Nottingham, 7-9 April 2020) in the face of the escalating Covid-19 crisis and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration on 11 March that this is now officially a global pandemic. BOU Council have a duty of care to our members, staff and wider community, in not exposing anyone to an increased risk of infection of COVID-19.

We have postponed this conference on Avian Restoration until 31 March – 1 April 2021 (at the University of Nottingham) and have moved our planned Avian Reproduction conference (due in spring 2021) to 2022.

2020 Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting was due to be held at the above conference (1800 h, 8 April), but under lockdown restrictions imposed by the UK government since 23 March, that means no unnecessary travel and no gatherings of more than two people, so AGMs cannot be held. As well as having an obligation to comply with government lockdown restrictions, we have a duty of care to our staff, members, volunteers and Trustees, and we therefore strongly advise that no member attends the advertised AGM on 8 April. No Trustee or BOU employee will be attending. With no Trustees present, the meeting will not be quorate and will be automatically adjourned on the day.

Charities are governed by their respective Rules, as approved by the Charity Commission of England and Wales and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Our Rules do not allow us to undertake our AGM remotely. Rule 9.2 states we must convene an AGM within 15 months of the previous meeting. We will communicate a new date, time and location for a reconvened AGM as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow, hopefully within the 15-month period.

Other activities

We are fortunate that the BOU is both small and flexible and, with many of our activities managed remotely by our staff and volunteers, much of the BOU will be operating as ‘business as usual’. We are in regular contact with all those working across all our activities to ensure that they are supported and that we are aware of any operational issues at the earliest opportunity, so that we can act appropriately.

Remote conferencing

In the meantime, the BOU is involved in three conferences this year which are either whole remote or part remote, and we encourage you to support and participate if these events cross over with your field of research:

  • 4–6 May – #WSTC6, World Seabird Twitter Conference See here
    The sixth World Seabird Twitter Conference (and the second supported by the BOU). Remote presenting and following, no-cost, ultra-low carbon and . . . no risk of being cancelled because of COVID-19! Follow the #WSCT6 tag on Twitter for updates.
  • 7–8 October – #ISTC20, International Shorebird Twitter Conference  See here
    The first-ever International Shorebird Twitter Conference, hosted jointly by the BOU and the International Wader Study Group, as part of ISWG’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Take part for all the reasons listed for #WSTC6 above!
  • 24 November – BOUsci20, Climate Change & Birds & – Zoom and Twitter Conferences  See here
    We have switched the in-person element to a virtual conference to be hosted on Zoom (pay to attend). The Twitter conference side remains unchanged. Those presenting in the Zoom conference will be asked to prepare and present a Twitter summary of their presentation, ensuring that we capture all presentations online (free access). Twitter presentations from around the world will extend the length and scope of the conference.

Since all three of the above will be online, you will be able to follow them whatever the position is in relation to COVID-19!

Steve Dudley
Chief Operations Officer

Image top right: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS