Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell


I have always been passionate about birds, particularly raptors, and learning how we can better protect them in the wild. This led me to pursue a BSc in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Kent and later an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia. Alongside my studies I have also gained a broader perspective on conservation research and how this can be applied at the policy and practitioner levels whilst working for Natural England and NGO’s such as VulPro. I am enthusiastic about effective science communication and am the current blog editor for #theBOUblog.

My undergraduate dissertation focussed on harnessing large citizen science datasets from migration count sites to infer population trends of threatened raptor species in the Afro-Palaearctic system, and I have continued working in this system since. For my masters dissertation I used tracking data from 23 Greater Spotted Eagles tagged in Polesia by the BTO to investigate the movement ecology of the species throughout the annual cycle.

Charlie Russell

PhD title: "Identifying multi-scale exposure of anthropogenic threats to migratory birds"

Long-distance migrants are declining at faster rates than sedentary species and throughout their annual cycle individuals are exposed to a plethora of threats with elevated energetic costs and mortality risks during migrations. Conservation of migratory species is challenging, with resource use and threats spread across spatially disparate areas throughout the annual life cycle, requiring more spatially-nuanced interventions than sedentary species. Our knowledge of the spatial distribution of anthropogenic threats has greatly improved, however our understanding of how individuals are exposed to these threats during migrations and how threats in different areas impact populations is limited.

This PhD will draw together tracking data from MoveBank and anthropogenic threat maps from Buchan et al. (2022) to generate a model that considers migratory behaviour and spatial patterns of threats to calculate an index for threat exposure using Greater Spotted Eagles as a focal species. It will allow us to further elucidate the causes of population declines in Greater Spotted Eagles, and, when applied across different species and subpopulations help us translate individual risks to population level risks, providing an important tool for identifying high risk and high priority areas for the conservation of migratory species.

Awards and prizes

Bishopric Prize for Best Dissertation in Applied Ecology at UEA (2023)

ASAB Winter Meeting Best Talk (2022)

Other information

I am the current BOU Blog Editor #theBOUBlog and member of the BOU Engagement Committee