Ruben Evens awarded the price for best ECR-poster at BOU2017 Mar 31, 2017
The BOU (British Ornithologist’s Union) is one of the world’s oldest and most respected ornithological organisations with an international membership stretching across all continents. Conferences tend to be themed on major ornithological topics and attract expert speakers to share their latest research. BOU strongly supports ECR-students (Early Career Students) and the author of the best ECR-poster at the annual spring conference also receives a prize as part of the BOU’s annual ‘best student presentation’ awards.
At BOU2017 – From avian tracking to population processes (28-30 March 2017, Warwick), Ruben Evens (Centre for Environmental Sciences, Research Group Zoology: Biodiversity & Toxicology) was awarded the price for best ECR-poster for “Do Nightjars visit takeaway restaurants – Landscape heterogeneity affects the foraging behaviour and oxidative stress in European Nightjars”.
Using GPS-loggers, the movement of 30 nightjars was studied in detail and foraging behaviour and actual movement paths of 210 foraging trips were analysed. The results indicate that landscape composition and configuration influences the connectivity between two complementary resources for nightjars: nest sites and food. On a daily basis, nightjars connect breeding and foraging sites by rapidly crossing unsuitable habitats in order to exploit a higher prey biomass in foraging sites. Birds, for whom the foraging distance is larger (i.e. birds which have to cross larger distances over unsuitable habitat), compensate longer travel time by spending more time in foraging habitats (i.e. longer foraging time). At the physiological level, plasma anti-oxidants were higher as compared to the birds with shorter foraging distances, indicating more extreme stress levels in these nightjars. These new insights provide vital information to optimize conservation measurements for this protected bird species.