Throughout the course of Professor Tim Birkhead’s laudable academic career, he has been engaged in an extraordinary quest to chart the story of a bird population on a remote Welsh island.
His study of guillemots at Skomer Island has been going on since the 1970s and revealed important information about how they are responding to climate change, but the professor feared the project would come to an end with his retirement. However, hundreds of people – many of them former students and colleagues – have now collectively donated £100,000 to secure the study’s future for at least another decade. It is a tribute to Professor Birkhead’s work and the esteem in which it, and he, are held that the fundraising target has been hit. And at a time when many bird populations such as sparrows and starlings are in decline for different reasons, it is vital scientists can provide information to inform decisions on how best to respond.