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The Annual William Condry Memorial Lecture 2015

“Forty Years on the Welsh Bird Islands.”

Professor Tim Birkhead

MOMA Wales The Tabernacle, Machynlleth

Saturday 3rd October, 2015

Tim Birkhead has studied guillemots, the most abundant seabird in the northern hemisphere, for much of his 40-year career as a scientist. Guillemots may not be as cute as puffins but - as Tim will reveal - they are infinitely more interesting. Because we know how their populations work, they're our best barometer of the state of the oceans. Tim has studied the behaviour, ecology and conservation of seabirds around British coasts, in Labrador and the High Arctic. His long-term study of guillemots, however, is based on Skomer Island, Wales - in Tim's view one of the most beautiful places he's been. The biology of guillemots is extraordinary. Few other birds show such extreme adaptations to their environment. They breed in crowded tenements, and in many ways their colonies are much like our own. Scientists dislike anthropomorphism, but guillemots really are like people! One of the guillemot's most intriguing adaptations is the single egg - unusual in its huge size, variable colour and pattern, and pointed shape. Why? Tim will reveal all (and much more) in his presentation, as well as telling how in 2014 the Welsh Assembly (hiss the villains!) terminated funding for his important long-term study. Tim and the study have, however, somehow survived and he’ll disclose the guerilla tactics deployed in his battle with obtuse politicians.

“A fellow of the Royal Society, Tim is one of Britain’s leading avian ecologists and has complete mastery of the contemporary science. He also has a historian’s grasp of our intellectual past, a storyteller’s gift for fine, clear and deceptively simple prose and an instinctive sense of the tales that are worth recounting.”

Mark Cocker in The Guardian

Doors open 7 p.m.
Lecture 7.30p.m

Tickets: £5.00 on the door, to include refreshments – booking not necessary

Copies of Tim’s books (The Wisdom of Birds, Bird Sense, Promiscuity etc.) will be on sale after the lecture and Tim will be available for signing.

Before the lecture, A William Condry Reader (Gomer Press, £15) will be launched.