Special Presentation: Graham Martin – A Bird’s Eye View
School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Note that Graham will give his presentation online because he is unable to attend in person.
Abstract: Birds are renowned for their exceptional vision and the way that this enables them to survive and navigate the world in such a unique way. However, it is now recognised that avian behaviour is guided by information drawn from many different senses which are then used in integrated and complementary ways to answer the many different sensory challenges posed by specific environments and particular tasks. Understanding how sensory information is used by birds has important applications in conservation, such as providing vital insights into why birds are prone to collisions with structures like power lines and wind turbines, and why so many diving birds become entrapped in nets. A sensory ecology approach suggests how these problems can be mitigated. Dr. Martin presents a synthesis that challenges previous assumptions about the information that controls the behaviour of birds. A bird may use a wide range and combination of sensory information that comes from sight, hearing, smell, mechanoreception, taste, and magnetoreception. This presentation may change the way we approach avian management at airports.
Dr. Graham Martin is an Ornithologist with an international reputation built upon his research into the sensory worlds of birds. He is emeritus professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, having started there in 1976. In recent years he has focused on the functions of vision, especially binocular vision, in foraging behaviour, but also in understanding why some bird species are particularly vulnerable to collisions with human artefacts, such as wind turbines and power lines and, I guess we can add airplanes. He is author of two seminal books on the subject The Sensory Ecology of Birds was published by Oxford University Press in 2017 and in 2020 his book on Bird Senses was published by Pelagic Press.
We are honoured to have Dr. Martin as a speaker for it a rare occasion when we can listen and enter into a discussion with a world leading expert on one of the most important topics in airport wildlife management – avian behaviour.