Conservation Evidence Volunteer

maurice.durham@wwt.org.uk

About me

I have been interested in wildlife since a very early age, but it was never part of my professional career, in which I worked on the safety of nuclear power stations (having graduated from Exeter University with an Honours degree in Mathematics in 1970). My training as a bird ringer started in 1980, and my first contact with WWT was in 1990, when a Constant Effort Ringing site was established in the decoy wood as part of a national scheme to monitor the populations and breeding success of a number of species. I also monitor a number of Kestrel nest boxes and have a long running involvement in gull ringing in the Severn Estuary region. A main incentive for me for several years has been the training of new entrants to the ringing scheme, especially those involved in conservation work, which now includes the Gough Island mouse eradication project and Hihi conservation in New Zealand. Early retirement gave me the opportunity to volunteer with WWT, and it seemed only natural that the focus would be on the ringing side of things.

Work

I have been a volunteer within the Conservation Evidence team since 2005. Initially, I devoted almost all my time to computerising some 150,000 ringing records to make them more widely available – but there are plenty more to be done when the time and priorities allow. A key element of the revised office accommodation strategy was to reduce the amount of paperwork that was filed on site, so I spent a considerable time cataloguing what couldn’t be kept (including some that had been stored for review in 2007!), scanning documents as appropriate and disposing of others to ornithological libraries across the country or local archives. I have also helped with fieldwork, notably cannon netting Bewick’s Swans to enable trackers to be fitted.

Skills

  • Fieldwork: bird handing and ringing, setting mist nets and cannon nets
  • Computerisation and management of ringing datasets
  • Maintaining cannon netting equipment and making associated kit
  • Cataloguing, archiving and scanning documents

Publications

Holt, C., Wallis, K., Durham, M., Ekins, G., Hearn, R., and King, R. 2020. Great bird reserves: Abberton Reservoir. British Birds 113(11) 686-704

Wood, K.A., Brides, K. Durham, M.E., and Hearn R.D. 2021. Adults have more male-biased sex ratios than first-winter juveniles in wintering duck populations. Avian Research 12:51