A University of Exeter PhD researcher has begun a crowd-funding initiative to help expand bird conservation research.
Sara Zonnevald, an ecologist at the University, has collaborated with the Dartmoor Upland Bird Nest Group to create a crowd-funding website that will help cover fieldwork expenses such as equipment and running costs.
This fieldwork will be essential for gaining information about breeding times, breeding success and breeding requirements of various declining bird species.
These ground-nesting bird species have been studied by the Dartmoor Upland Bird Nest Group for 8 years, with around 350 bird nests being monitored each year on the upland moors of Dartmoor National Park.
Zonneveld, who is part of the group, is currently working towards her PhD which has included studying breeding and habitat requirements of Dartmoor’s ground-nesting birds.
Explaining the initiative, Zonneveld said: “We are passionate about protecting the ecology of the Dartmoor uplands.
“It is a unique landscape home to a fantastic bird community. To ensure its conservation, we need to be able to understand the birds and their breeding behaviour.”
The group consists of local bird enthusiasts, ornithologists and scientists from the University of Exeter who aim to better understand the breeding habits of the birds and carry out suitable conservation measures.
Zonneveld continued: “Some of the bird species in our study are showing national declines, which highlights the importance and relevance of our work.
“Funding will allow us to cover the cost of fieldwork and equipment such as bird rings, which help us monitor the growth and survival of the birds.”
To help the group raise their target of £6000, donations can be made through the crowd-funding site.