The Migrant Landbird Study Group concept was initiated at a round table discussion at the 9th Conference of the European Ornithologists' Union (EOU) in Norwich, United Kingdom in August 2013.
This open discussion was attended by 50 people and chaired by EOU president Thomas Wesołowski. Danaë Sheenan (RSPB – BirdLife in the UK) and Bernd de Bruijn (VBN – BirdLife in The Netherlands) provided a brief background of the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP) and the resulting increasing importance of related research, as well as a letter from Prof. Franz Bairlein offering to host a first meeting of the MLSG.
The floor was then open for any thoughts as to how a MLSG might work, with useful guidance offered by members of the International Wader Study Group present. The following comments were given:
- It should be an independent and open forum for researchers, both amateurs and professionals;
- Volunteers should be organizing and managing the group;
- The IWSG is considered a good model, MLSG should be allowed to be fairly organic, rather than formal, to start off and grow from there;
- Sense of urgency amongst, and expected benefits for scientists should be the driving factors; thus not driven by organization behind it, but based on people coming together;
- Spin-off could however help inform conservation-based research agendas and reach out to other disciplines;
- There should be some kind of membership fee and product (publication) at some point;
- Membership from flyways other than East-Atlantic Flyway? In due course?
- A small group of participants volunteered to continue discussion that evening.
Danaë Sheehan – RSPB (Chair)
Rien van Wijk - Swiss Ornithological Institute
Jacquie Clark - BTO
Phil Atkinson - BTO
Kasper Thorup - University of Copenhagen
Maiken Winter - Wissenleben, Germany
Samantha Franks - Simon Fraser University, Canada (now at BTO)
Bernd de Bruijn - VBN, The Netherlands (notes)
- Find balance between organic and formal organizational set-up; some type of structure would be necessary; either way we need enthusiasts to maintain momentum and keep it going
- Need to ensure that other existing similar initiatives are aware of plans for formation of the MLSG (e.g Euring and Migres Foundation). Jacquie volunteered to promote MLSG initiative at Euring. Rien/Jacquie to think about how to do similar with Migres
- Benefits needed if membership fees (Danaë mentioned that Will Cresswell kindly offered to be the editor of a bulletin!)
- Annual meeting (rather than conference), every two years, alternating with EOU (but MLSG seminars would be convened at the latter)
- Focus could be themes and/or specialist days, with mix of presentations and interactive discussion sessions
- Suggested that the meeting takes place over two days
- Perspective should be clear: what will participants be enabled to do and what would be added value of MLSG (e.g. input into AEMLAP, guidance for conservation, influence policy)
- (initial?) focus on Afro-Palaearctic migrants system
- Kasper volunteered to facilitate one session at the inaugural meeting
- An email group or discussion forum is required to maintain contact with interested parties. Rien volunteers and takes email contact list from round table discussion to facilitate this process. Rien to liaise with Phil to ensure active link between this group and the webpage
- Inaugural meeting to be held in Wilhemshaven following offer from Franz. Danaë will speak to Franz’s to determine expectations and ideas for way forward