Population biology of seabirds
(from his University of Sheffield website
"Together with Ben Hatchwell, I have maintained a long-term study population of individually marked guillemots Uria aalge on Skomer Island, Wales since 1972.
The aim of the study, which until 2013 was funded by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), is to understand the processes responsible for long term
changes in the population. We monitor adult and immature survival, age at first breeding, reproductive success, timing of breeding, and the diet and feeding
rate of guillemot chicks. The parameters we measure provide a comprehensive 'health check' for the guillemot population which is far more sensitive than
simply counting numbers. Our main findings are that oiling incidents, even as far away as northern Spain, have a negative effect on the population, because
guillemots winter over a wide area. We have also shown that climate change affects breeding success and the timing of breeding, and probably survival."
See: Votier et al. (2005) Ecology Letters, 8: 1157-1164, and Meade et al. (2012) J. Avian Biology, 43: 1-7.
More popular articles on the long term study of Skomer's guillemots can be found in Natur Cymru (2009) 30: 33-37 and (2014) 52: 10-15; Birdwatching Magazine (2012) 30-32; Times Higher Education (2012) 9 August 30-35.
Books & Articles
- Riordan, J. & Birkhead, T.R (2018) "Changes in the diet composition of
Common Guillemot Uria aalge chicks on Skomer Island, Wales, between 1973 and
2017" Ibis 160:470-474
This study documents long-term changes in Common Guillemot Uria aalge chick
diet on Skomer Island, Wales, from 1973 to 2017. Chick diet has remained broadly
similar (mainly Clupeids) since 1973, although more recently there has been an
increase in relatively low-quality prey (Gadids), suggesting a shift in prey
availability. Keywords: Auk, Clupeids, chick diet, Gadids, seabirds.
- Meade, J., Hatchwell, B.J., Blanchard, J.L. & Birkhead, T.R (2013) "The population increase of common guillemots Uria aalge on Skomer Island is
explained by intrinsic demographic properties" Journal of Avian Biology 44(1):55–61
- Votier, S.C., Birkhead, T.R., Oro, D., Trinder, M., Grantham, M.J., Clark, J.A., McCleery, R.H. & Hatchwell, B.J. (2008) "Recruitment and
survival of immature seabirds in relation to oil spills and climate variability" J. Animal Ecol. 77(5):974-983
- Votier, S.C, Hatchwell, B.J., Beckerman, A., McCleery, R.H., Hunter, F.M.,
Pellatt, J., Trinder, M., & Birkhead, T.R., (2005) "Oil pollution and climate
have wide-scale impacts on seabird demographics" Ecol. Letters 8(11):1157-1164
- Hatchwell, B.J., Birkhead, T.R., Goodburn, S.F., Perrins, J.M. & Jones, S.E.
(1992) "Chick diets and food intake of nestling Common Guillemots Uria aalge:
an inter-colony comparison" Seabird 14:15-20
- Birkhead, T.R., Goodburn, S.F. & Hatchwell, B.J. (1986) "Feeding Ecology of
Common Guillemot Chicks on Lundy" Annual Report of the Lundy Field Society
Annual Report of the Lundy Field Society 1985 36
- Birkhead, T.R. (1985) "Coloniality and social behaviour in the Atlantic Alcidae" In: Nettleship, D.N. & Birkhead, T.R. eds. "The Atlantic
- Birkhead, T.R. & Harris, M.P. (1985) "Ecological Adaptations for Breeding in the Atlantic Alcidae" In: Nettleship, D.N. & Birkhead, T.R. eds. "The Atlantic
- Harris, M.P. & Birkhead, T.R. (1985) "Breeding Ecology of the Atlantic Alcidae" In: Nettleship, D.N. & Birkhead, T.R. eds. "The Atlantic
- Nettleship, D.N. & Birkhead, T.R. eds. (1985) "The Atlantic Alcidae: The Evolution, Distribution and Biology of the Auks Inhabiting the Atlantic
Ocean and Adjacent Water Areas" Academic Press, London 574pp
- Birkhead, T.R. (1984) "Distribution of the bridled form of the Common guillemot Uria aalge in the North Atlantic" J. Zool. (Lond.)
- Birkhead, T.R., Biggins, J.D. & Nettleship, D.N. (1980) "Non-random, intra-colony distribution of bridled guillemots Uria aalge" J. Zool. (Lond.)
- Birkhead, T.R. & Lock, A.R. (1980) "Changes in the proportion of bridled murres in Northern Labrador" Condor 82:473-474
- Birkhead, T.R. (1978) "Attendance patterns of Guillemots Uria aalge at breeding colonies on Skomer Island" Ibis 120(2):219-229
- Birkhead, T.R. (1978) "Behavioural adaptations to high density nesting in the Common Guillemot, Uria aalge" Anim Behav 26:321-331
- Birkhead, T.R. (1977) "Adaptive significance of the nestling period of Guillemots, Uria aalge" Ibis 119:544-549
- Birkhead, T.R. (1977) "The effect of habitat and density on breeding success in the Common Guillemot Uria aalge" J. Animal Ecol.
- Birkhead, T.R. & Hudson, P.J. (1977) "Population parameters for the Common Guillemot Uria aalge" Ornis Scan. 8:145-154
- Birkhead, T.R. & Taylor, A.M. (1977) "Moult of the Guillemot Uria aalge" Ibis 119:80-85
- Skomer (1972-)
- Lundy (provisioning 1985 & 1986)
- Great Saltee (provisioning 1985)
- A mainland colony in northern England (winter 1974)