Bird behaviour in a changing world: with a special focus on bird senses

Bird Sense 2017 brings together a distinguished list of international researchers to explore how birds perceive the varying landscapes in which they live, and how we might tackle challenges faced in welfare, conservation, and from anthropogenic change.




Register now (14 Sep only)

Register now (15 Sep only)

Birds inhabit every continent of the world and virtually all available ecological niches, from cities to the frozen tundra, from tropical rainforests to deserts, and from mountain ranges to the ocean. They eat fruits and insects; snails and worms; cereal grains and plants; mammals and fish; beeswax; sap, and nectar. But in our human-modified world birds face many challenges their ancestors did not: the glass fronts of tall buildings, wind turbines and power lines, artificial daylight that turns night to day; and noisy air traffic that moves faster than any of their natural predators. But birds also cause conflicts for humans: they can be major pests of crops and cause nuisance in urban settings. Some birds are thriving; others are struggling. 

Together, we hope to formulate questions, instruments and analyses to capture how birds make sense of their changing world.

Download talk abstracts: PDF icon Full talk abstracts: Bird Sense 14-15 September 2017 (1.07 MB)

Download schedule: PDF icon Programme - Bird behaviour in a changing world 14-15 September 2017 (201.93 KB)

Formal talks will be followed by workshop-style discussion sessions to address key topics and questions:

  • Sensing the world as birds do.

  • What can sensory ecology contribute to avian conservation and welfare?

  • Can birds evolve their way out of the environmental crises we impose on them?

  • New concepts and technologies: how do we make sense of the world for a bird?

PDF icon Bird Sense discussion session topics (218.52 KB)

PDF icon Flyer: Bird senses symposium 14-15 Sep 2017 (489.37 KB)

Attending this event

Registration is required to attend this event.  Please book via the link above.  If you have any queries or problems please contact; tel 020 7449 6227


2 days: Full price £160
2 days: Discount price (for ZSL Members/Fellows and students) £80
1 day: Full price £100
1 day: discount price (for ZSL Members/Fellows and students) £50


  • Note that ZSL Fellows/Members discounts will be automatically applied at the payment stage
  • Registration fee includes lunch and refreshments


Dr Hannah Rowland, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Professor Innes Cuthill, University of Bristol

Dr Tom Pike, University of Lincoln



Dr Slav Bagriantsev, Yale University
Cellular and molecular specialization to mechanoreception in the duck bill

Dr Maude Baldwin, Max Plank Institute for Ornithology
Sweet and umami taste preferences in birds

Professor Melissa Bateson, Newcastle University
Sensing somatic state

Dr Francesco Bonadonna, CEFE-CNRS
The lords of the perfumes

Dr Signe Brinkløv, University of Southern Denmark
Do bird echolocation and conservation fly together?

Dr John Ewen, Institute of Zoology, ZSL
Sense-ible conservation translocations

Dr Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, Purdue University
Developing lights to prevent collisions with birds: more of a biological than a technological challenge

Professor Tim Guilford, University of Oxford
Seabird navigation: some parts of the puzzle

Sam Hardman, The Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
How fast can a bird react to noise? A test of the speed of the Lombard effect in canaries

Elspeth Kenny, University of Sheffield
The role of allopreening in social relationships

Dr Dorothy McKeegan, University of Glasgow
Pressure perception in poultry: welfare implications

Dr Gail Patricelli, University of California, Davis
Sensitive birds in a noisy world: the impacts of noise pollution on sage-grouse

Dr Steve Portugal, Royal Holloway University
From secretary birds to white-headed vultures: finding your next meal while avoiding a collision 

Associate Professor Eugeni Roura, University of Queensland
Taste, feathers and welfare

Dr Hannah M Rowland, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Bitter taste perception in birds

Dr Eve Schneider, Yale University
Anatomical and functional specialization of the trigeminal system in diving and dabbling ducks

Dr John Swaddle, College of William and Mary
Using targeted noise deterrents to reduce human avian conflicts

Professor Marcel Visser, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)
Living with illuminated nights: the impact of artificial light at night on bird behaviour

Dr Scott J Werner, United States Department of Agriculture, National Wildlife Research Center
Applications of visual cues and postingestive consequences for managing bird-agriculture interactions

Dr Doug Wylie, University of Alberta
Back seat flyers: processing of visual motion information in the avian cerebellum and its role in flight



  • This symposium will take place in the Prince Albert Suite, Zoological Society of London, Outer Circle, Regents Park, NW1 4RY.  Access is vis the Prince Albert Gate on the Outer Circle.

  • Nearest underground station: Camden Town

  • Nearest bus stop: Number 274

  • Please find further information on directions here


This event is is supported by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)

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