Establishing a shared understanding of predator-prey interactions involving wild birds in Scotland

The Understanding Predation Research Project is being conducted on behalf of Scotland’s Moorland Forum by researchers from University of Aberdeen, British Trust for Ornithology, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and University of Stirling.

The project has stemmed from common concerns shared by a wide range of organisations in Scotland about broad-scale declines in a number of wild bird species, particularly a suite of ground-nesting birds (including breeding waders and wild game birds).

The project will collect information to increase understanding of the geographical patterns of change, and the impact of predator-prey interactions on ground-nesting birds, alongside, and in combination with, other factors that may influence the observed population changes. It will also review a range of conservation-management options that could assist in mitigating wild bird declines, whilst ensuring that healthy populations of both prey and predators can be sustained.

Many SOC supporters have deep local knowledge of local or regional bird populations and recent changes in these. The project will collect this information from a wide range of interest groups across Scotland and compare it with findings from the scientific literature. It will allow us to identify where there are important knowledge gaps in our understanding of why ground-nesting bird populations are changing and how best to mitigate negative changes and to plan and prioritise further research.

There is a lot more information on the project accessible from the Moorland Forum website and the project blog, where you can also see the draft structure of the review that will be produced and more information on the methods.

Please help with the research by completing the project questionnaire (it should take around 30 minutes to complete): Understanding Predation Questionnaire or alternatively paste the following link into your browser: http://cduhes.asia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_agT7dUEavWH1ZKl

The team are trying to encourage as many people as possible to complete the questionnaire (as soon as possible would be appreciated) so please share, or forward the questionnaire to anyone you know who may be interested in contributing to the research.

The project will also explore the issues discussed in the questionnaire in greater detail during stakeholder workshops, conducted between now and July. Participants at these workshops must complete the questionnaire first, and must enter their contact details at the workshop section towards the end of the questionnaire. The team will then be in touch with more detailing about participating in a workshop.

If you have any questions about the research, please contact :

Dr Gill Ainsworth

Research Fellow in Understanding Predation
Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Aberdeen University
Tillydrone Avenue
Aberdeen AB24 2TZ,
Email: g.ainsworth@abdn.ac.uk
Mobile: 07835 443 874