Senior Research Ecologist
Chris is a Senior Research Ecologist in the Framing Futures Team where he works on the status, ecology and conservation of Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds and of forest birds across the world.
Projects primarily focus on improving knowledge of the migration ecology of these species, with the aim of understanding the drivers of recent population changes and the likely population impacts of projected environmental change, with the ultimate aim of facilitating restoration of flyways and populations.
Interests & Responsibilities
Current and recent projects include tracking migrations to understand annual migration cycles, including those of Common Cuckoos using satellite-based radio telemetry, and using geolocators to reconstruct the migrations of individual Common Swifts, Nightingales, Spotted Flycatchers and several species of warblers.
Increasingly, this work involves using GPS-level accuracy tracking to examine fine-scale resource use through the annual cycle and to facilitate habitat creation and conservation measures designed to enhance population sizes.
Previously Chris has been involved in projects including large-scale field surveys of migratory birds across a broad latitudinal transect from the Sahel to the moist tropical forest in West Africa, detailed studies of the winter ecology on migrants in tropical Africa and assessment of the biodiversity value of forests in western Siberia, as well as large-scale studies monitoring the population trends and habitat use of woodland birds in Britain, and smaller studies examining a range of processes thought to affect birds in woodlands, such as nest predation by Grey Squirrels and grazing by deer.
- Member of the Special Marks Technical Panel
- BSc (Hons) Geography, Nottingham University, 1989 – 1992
- MSc Advanced Ecology, University of Durham, 1993 – 1994
- PhD ‘Interactions between resident tits and migratory warblers in an English broadleaved woodland’, Dept. of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 1996 - 2000
Recent BTO Publications
Content Related to Chris Hewson
Combining remote sensing and tracking data to quantify species’ cumulative exposure to anthropogenic change
The results showed that although the actual amount of change had been greatest on the breeding grounds, cumulative exposure to changes in direct mortality risk and climate were highest during the Cuckoos’ autumn migra
West African stopover determines timing of Cuckoo arrival
The authors use 11 years of satellite tracking data from 87 male Cuckoos, tagged at 11 sites across the UK, to examine variation in migratory timing throughout the annual cycle and its potential consequences.