Q&A with Graham Scott Ringing & Migration: The Journal of the BTO ringing Scheme

Professor Graham Scott is the Associate Dean for Education in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Hull. He has been the Editor for Ringing & Migration since 2017, we caught up with Graham about his plans for the journal, how he thinks the journal assists the international community of ornithologists, and his advice to early career researchers.

As the new Editor for Ringing & Migration, what are your plans for the next year?

The journal has recently broadened its remit to include all aspects of avian ecology, with a particular emphasis on the use of ringing, tracking and nest monitoring to improve our understanding of factors influencing survival, breeding success, migration and other movements. Although the focus remains the birds that occur in the Western Palearctic the journal also welcomes papers from other parts of the world that are relevant to studies of Western Palearctic avifauna. My key goals for the coming year are related to this – working with the existing editorial board to get this message out and recruiting new board members to enable these changes.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the second edition of my textbook Essential Ornithology, a project that makes me engage with the wider ornithology literature and stay up to date with the field. In research terms colleagues and I are in the process of recruiting a team to work on a new project involving the use of radar to study the movements of birds during their migrations and at stop-over/wintering sites.

What would your advice be to early career researchers and/or students?

I think that whilst it is important to stay focused on your immediate area of research and your career goals it is also important that you take opportunities when they present themselves. Form active collaborations with your mentors and your peers and develop networks across your field. Don’t wait to be asked to collaborate on a project, to present a paper, or to give a seminar – take the initiative and make the offer yourself.

How do you think Ringing & Migration assists the international community of ornithologists?

 Ringing & Migration has always, and will always be a journal that is accessible to professional and enthusiastic non-professional ornithologists. As such it brings together the wider ornithological community and provides a platform for the sharing of ideas and advances in practical field ornithology. The journal provides an outlet for smaller scale projects and for short notes evaluating practical ornithology techniques that might otherwise not be widely accessible.

What are the current challenges facing the ringing community?

 I think there are two current challenges for the ringing community: The first is keeping up and taking advantage of the amazing technological advances that are enabling us to learn more about the movements of birds than ever before; the second is making sense of the multi-layered and interconnected data available to us and using it to make a positive contribution to global conservation efforts.

What are the opportunities for Ringing & Migration in the digital world?

 Digital publication enables the journal to extend its reach in the sense that more people in more places can access it but also in the sense that ringers and other ornithologists can access it in the field. The papers that we publish on ageing and sexing techniques and on species identification are tools to be used in the field and being able to access them from our phone or tablet is revolutionising the way we can use them.