Ryan Burrell

Curlew Recovery Partnership Director

About me

My work has focused on the applied ecology and conservation of European and North American waders. Initially, for the James Bay shorebird project, investigating the stopover ecology of migrating arctic breeding waders. And later, as a research ecologist on the LIFE Waders for Real project, an EU-funded and farmer-led wader conservation and wetland restoration project which successfully reversed the declining trends of breeding Lapwing and Redshank in the Avon Valley, Hampshire. I am currently in the later stages of writing up my PhD at Bournemouth University where I explored interactions between protected avian predators and breeding waders. I have been involved in Curlew research in the New Forest led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and in my own time, conduct voluntary projects investigating the use of functionally-linked land by Curlew and Oystercatchers. I sit on the executive of the International Wader Study Group and coordinate colour-marking of waders across European flyways.

My role

As the Curlew Recovery Partnership Director, I am responsible for the day-to-day running of the partnership and delivery of our work programme, which includes engaging with our nationwide network of Curlew enthusiasts, communicating with the wider public and the delivery our DEFRA Species Recovery Programme project starting in spring 2023. I work closely with the Chair, Mary Colwell, and with our Steering Group representatives, which includes Dr Geoff Hilton from WWT.

Experience and interests

  • Extensive ornithological fieldwork experience
  • BTO A-permit, trainer and cannon-net endorsement holder
  • Tracking and telemetry studies and equipment
  • Predator-prey dynamics and ecology
  • Wetland agri-environment and farming policy


  • Morten J.M., Burrell R.A., Frayling T.D., Hoodless A.N., Thurston W., Hawkes L.A., (2022). Variety in responses of wintering oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus to near-collapse of their prey in the Exe Estuary, UK. Ecology and Evolution. 12(11). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36440309/
  • Aebischer, N.J. & Burrell, R.A., (2021). Grey Partridge Perdix perdix, Galliformes, Phasianidae. In: Powolny, T. (ed.) Conservation and Management of Huntable Bird Species in Europe: 37-49. OMPO, Paris, France.
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