Migrant Landbird Study Group

Promoting collaborative research for migratory landbirds across flyways

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The MLSG was able to fund six students/early career researchers to attend the PAOC15 in Victoria Falls in November 2022. These are their accounts of the experience.

By Andriah Laingo Rakotomavo, Madagascar

In November 2022, I had the great opportunity to participate in the PAOC15 in Zimbabwe, an international meeting gathering African bird enthusiasts, researchers, amateurs, international organizations, and partners for their long-term preservation.

Following the submission of my research results and after its validation by the PAOC15 scientific committee, I had the merit to give a talk during the PAOC. With the support of the MLSG, I was able to present the fruit of my research on the "diversity of shorebirds during the post-breeding period in the mangroves of the Mahavavy-Kinkony Complex, Madagascar". The week of PAOC15 in Zimbabwe remains for me one of my most beautiful adventures. Being my first international experience, the preparations were more stressful than ever as I had no idea what to expect there. My worries began to dissipate on the flight from Addis Ababa to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where almost half of the passengers were there for the conference. Many knew each other and the ice was easily broken. We introduced ourselves and spoke as if neither language, nor origin, nor recent meeting were in any way a barrier. And this high energy was always present throughout the rest of the conference. We were here to present our research, to look for collaborators, to build relationships, but most of all we were here for the same passion: birds. 


I was lucky enough to share a room with a professor, whose title I did not know until a few days later. I really appreciated that she was very friendly and cheerful. Our discussions about scientific research were peppered with encouragement and support, very glad to have shared this short journey with her.

This conference was an opportunity to meet the researchers who were behind the scientific articles and/or books we read in class. It was also an opportunity to meet ambitious and committed young people looking for initiatives to integrate the local community. This inspired me a lot. The talks and posters allowed us to learn about the different studies conducted on birds in the four corners of the world. This greatly enhanced my research perspectives. The exchanges and the round tables made us discover a large offer of partnership and collaboration for our research or other projects.

Personally, I plan to continue my research on migratory shorebirds. I got a lot of ideas from the research presented by colleagues during this conference. And for the next PAOC, I hope to present a study on this subject with the collaboration of the people I met here. I reiterate my sincere appreciation to MLSG for allowing me to experience this unforgettable adventure.

Like these migratory birds, I would like to travel to learn and discover but also share this passion.