AVA Awards Recipients Report - Irene Espinosa - 2011

Geoffrey J. Burton Memorial Award

The 25th International Ornithological Congress was held in the high altitude town of Campos do Jordao, Brazil over 6 sunny days in August. The AVA Geoffrey J Burton memorial travel award enabled me to attend and present a poster involving part of my PhD research on disruptive colouration and high contrasting colours.

The congress brought together over 1200 bird enthusiasts from nearly every corner of the world and spanned an exciting range of subject areas covering everything from the importance and relevance of conservation biology to the intricacies of molecular work. It was a difficult task to choose which talks to attend since there were eight rooms simultaneously hosting various topics every day which all sounded attractive. I was able to listen to talks that addressed current problems with innovative research tools. It was an opportunity to learn about cutting edge research done in conservation biology, an area that interests me enormously but that I’m not very familiar with. Talks that were particularly appealing to me included work on the effect habitat fragmentation has on birds, how birds deal with reintroduction and predation and how birds can be useful tools to farmers in pest control. It was a rare treat to be in a place where I could attend such a wide diversity of talks. The poster session proved to be very rewarding, my poster received positive comments and I found the interactions during the session very motivating.

The congress not only proved to be very enjoyable but also a good place to meet fellow birders that share the same enthusiasm for the outdoors. It is always good not to be the only one around with a pair of binoculars tripping over uneven surfaces.

I would like to thank the AVA for awarding me the GJB award, the congress was a very productive and fun experience.