Conservation Breeding Aviculturalist

About me

My interest in all things avian began with my Father and his incubators. From hatching and rearing birds from a young age at home I quickly moved on to volunteering at my local zoo, The Cotswold Wildlife Park, where my interest in conservation flourished. I studied Zoology at university and got my first job at Twycross zoo before graduating. I continued to volunteer at many wildlife and conservation organisations before moving to the Netherlands to further my incubation experience. On my return to the UK I went to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for their avian egg incubation course. Little did I know, the people I met there would soon become my close colleagues at The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. I’ve always been highly influenced by passionate people, and I’m lucky enough to have been surrounded by incredible ornithologists throughout my life.

Work

As a Conservation Breeding Aviculturalist my work usually takes place behind the scenes at WWT Slimbridge; the majority of my time spent caring for the safe-guard population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers. If I’m away from the captive birds I’ll be assisting with the headstarting project for this flagship species on their breeding grounds in far North-Eastern Russia. From pair and nest location, to collecting and incubating eggs, finally rearing and releasing chicks to boost the wild population. When not tending to the ‘Spoonies’ the team and I are developing and trialling new methods of rearing, releasing, feeding, breeding (and more) for other species in need of conservation. For example, a Tufted Duck release trial, where a ‘floating aviary’ designed to release diving ducks was tested in full in preparation for the release of Madagascan Pochard. With many projects in progress there is never a dull moment nor minute to spare.

Skills

  • Ornithology
  • Aviculture (captive and field); particular skills in incubation and rearing techniques
  • Avian surveying and monitoring
  • Observational and scientific drawing
  • Crafty