St. Andrews University PhD students speak at Fife SOC meeting

How do tits communicate predatory threats? What happens to ‘our’ summer birds when they leave our shores? Where do they go and what do they get up to?

These were the questions posed by three post-graduate St Andrews University students when they explained their research to members at the Fife SOC meeting on Wednesday September 10th.

Their fascinating (and beautifully presented) talks gave new insights into the behaviour of our familiar birds – many of whom are in decline. To give a flavour of their research, Emma Blackburn told us that the tiny Whinchat flies 6000 km in less than three weeks, including a fast non-stop flight over the Sahara Desert. Sam Ivande told us that many birds wintering in Nigeria aren’t too worried about their habitat and will often stop at the first available patch of scrub, while Nora Carlson entertained us with her robotic Buzzard and the sounds of the unique ‘squeak’ call that Great Tits use to let other birds know a Sparrowhawk is on the prowl.

The next meeting of the branch will be at St Andrews Town Hall on Wednesday 8th October when Innes Sim will talk about Ring Ouzels.

All are welcome. Please visit the Fife branch page on the website for further information and contact details.

Elizabeth Irwin
SOC Fife Branch Treasurer