BES Forest Ecology Group

A British Ecological Society Special Interest Group

PiedFly.Net meeting covers the ecology of birds in fragmented landscapes

From Malcolm Burgess

The 5th Annual Meeting of PiedFly.Net was held at the Devon Wildlife Trusts Woodah Farm on March 21st. This event has grown each year, and has outgrown two previous venues. This year a near capacity 45 people attended, nearly all participating volunteer citizen scientist nestbox recorders. This meeting is aimed at providing feedback from the previous year’s monitoring, setting results in a longer term context as many schemes have data that goes back several decades. Many of the attending monitors are also bird ringers and add value to the nest monitoring by catching and marking adults and young each season. The network has particularly encouraged trapping of adults, something only few monitors did previously. The first talk by Malcolm Burgess showed that incredibly 70% of all adults, from 223 nests, were captured in 37 woodlands across SW England. 53% of these were ringed in previous years as adults of nestlings, showing what a high proportion of the southwest’s pied flycatcher population breed in network monitored box schemes.

Egg hatching dates are used as a measure of the birds timing of breeding. (c) Malcolm Burgess

Egg hatching dates are used as a measure of the birds timing of breeding. (c) Malcolm Burgess

The meeting always aims to widen network members interests beyond Pied flycatchers to woodland ecology more broadly. This year we had a talk from Richard Broughton (CEH) on monitoring Marsh tits, hearing about how dispersal in fragmented landscapes and possibly increased competition from other tit species affects populations. Richard also introduced members to Lidar, and showed what could be done linking available Lidar data to the PiedFly.Net datasets. Members especially liked the 3D canopy height visualisation of Yarner Wood, one of the network woodlands. We then had a talk from Marta Maziarz (Wrocław University), who recently finished her PhD working on hole-nesting woodland birds in the Bialowieza Forest, Poland. Hearing about how birds familiar to network members fare in a primeval forest was very popular, such that a member has taken up the invitation to visit this spring! Finally Malcolm rounded of the day with an update on several tracking projects happening in the SW, including results of pied flycatchers he tracked using geolocators from Devon to western Africa and back.

PiedFly.Net has a new website, The network welcomes new members and ways of using the networks datasets. The convener is Malcolm Burgess (, please get in touch if you wish to be added to the e-mailing list or have collaboration ideas.

One comment on “PiedFly.Net meeting covers the ecology of birds in fragmented landscapes

  1. Pingback: Funding available for meetings and events: Deadline 25th September | BES Forest Ecology Group

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This entry was posted on June 8, 2015 by in Meeting and tagged , , , , , .

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