Feather in cap of the Alderney observatory

ALDERNEY Bird Observatory has joined a national research project which should help to further enhance the Bailiwick’s international reputation.

Alderney Bird Observatory warden John Horton is delighted that it is now part of another major study, this time a national one being run by the British Trust for Ornithology and Durham University. (29266252)
Alderney Bird Observatory warden John Horton is delighted that it is now part of another major study, this time a national one being run by the British Trust for Ornithology and Durham University. (29266252)

Migration of Europe-African birds will be studied in the British Trust for Ornithology and Durham University project.

It aims to explain and predict migration by collating tracking, extensive ringing, and through field observation data for trans-Saharan migrants.

John Horton, ABO warden, said since launch in 2016 the charity has repeatedly drawn international attention to the Bailiwick as a major bird migration fly-way.

‘This latest request for data continues the trend towards incorporating the Channel Islands into leading ornithological science projects and initiatives,’ he said.

Last year the observatory entered international research programs of storm petrels and Balearic shearwaters.

Inter-colony petrel movements were studied in the former, and critically endangered shearwaters in the latter.

Resultantly ABO became a French National Action Plan partner for shearwater conservation.

‘The Channel Islands annually monitors and records globally significant numbers of both these species.’

This month ABO joined a new voluntary citizen-science programme to monitor migratory shorebird populations in the Eurasian, Middle Eastern and North African region, led by the Shorebird Conservation Society.

Mr Horton said bird migration from temperate and Arctic breeding grounds to lower latitudes for the non-breeding season is a major global wildlife event involving billions of birds which offer an important component of global ecosystems.

Projections of climate and land-use changes on bird activity and the importance of the Channel Islands as ‘stop-over grounds’ is being better understood.

Annual monitoring and data collection shows millions of birds annually visit to refuel and rest during migratory journeys.

Strengths, capabilities and shared objectives will be shared with the ABO working closely with the Bird Observatories Council and BTO.

A signed Memorandum of Understanding recognises the importance of the Channel Islands, plus the Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man, agreeing that bird ringing research organisations will collaborate, cooperate and consult together.

‘This is excellent if not a little belated recognition for our own Channel Islands bird ringing scheme and more than 70 years of dedicated research data it has compiled. Study models such as those mentioned here are urgently required if we are to deliver objective, policy-relevant information on our wildlife populations.’

Mr Horton said ABO is proud and delighted to deliver on the ecological importance of our islands.

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