Graham Austin


Senior Research Ecologist, Wetland and Marine Research


Design and analysis of results of national surveys of wild birds. Development of Wetland Bird Survey Database, Wetland Bird Survey Alerts system and Waterbird Indicators.
Research into factors driving population trends in waterbirds.
Development of BTO's GIS capabilities (including staff training).


BSc (Honours 1st Zoology), University of Aberdeen, 1984-1988.
PhD Zoology, Glasgow University "The distribution and breeding performance of the Buzzard in relation to habitat: the application of remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems", 1988-1991.

Research Interests/Responsibilities

Research into the effects of climate change on wintering waterbird distributions. Development of predictive models for assessing the effects of habitat change on waterbird populations.

Other Information

Qualified ringer with an endorsements to train other ringers.

Selected Publications

  • Burton, H.K.N., Banks, A.N., Calladine, J.R. & Austin, G.E. 2013.  The importace of the United Kingdom for wintering gulls: population estimates and conservation requirements.  Bird Study 60: 87-101.
  • Crow, O., Austin, G.E. & Boland, H. 2012.  Waterbird populations on non-estuarine coasts in Ireland: results of the 2006/07 Non-Estuarine Coastal Waterbird Survey (NEWS).  Irish Birds 9: 385-396.
  • Mendez, V., Gill, J.A., Burton, N.H.K, Austin, G.E., Petchey, O.L., & Davies, R.G. 2012. Functional diversity across space and time: trends in wader communities on British estuaries. Diversity and Distributions 18: 356-365.
  • Musgrove, A.J., Austin, G.E., Hearn, R.D., Holt, C.A., Stroud, D.A. & Wotton, S.R. 2011. Overwinter population estimates of British waterbirds. British Birds 104: 364-397.
  • Rehfisch, M.M., Allan, J.R. & Austin, G.E. 2011. The effect on the environment of Britain’s naturalized Greater Canada Branta canadensis and Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus. BOU ProcNet.
  • Austin, G.E., Cook, A.S.C.P., Maclean, I.M.D., Mitchell, P.I., Rehfisch M.M. & Wright, L.J. 2010. Healthy & Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group Technical Report Series: Evaluation and gap analysis of current and potential indicators for Seabirds & Waterbirds.
  • Banks, A.N., Burton, N.H.K., Calladine, J.R. and Austin, G.E. 2009. Indexing winter gull numbers in Great Britain using data from the 1953 to 2004 Winter Gull Roost Surveys. Bird Study 56: 103-119.
  • Newson, S.E., Mitchell, P.I., Parsons, M, O’Brien, S.H., Austin, G.E., Benn S., Black J., Blackburn, J., Brodie, B., Humphreys, E., Leech, D., Prior, M. & Webster, M. 2009 in press. Population decline of Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa within the largest colony in Britain and Ireland. Seabird.
  • Maclean, I.M.D., Austin, G.E., Rehfisch, M.M., Blew, J., Crowe, O., Delany, S., Devos, K., Deceuninck, B., G√ľnther, K., Laursen, K., van Roomen, M. & Wahl, J. 2008. Climate change causes rapid changes in the distribution and site abundance of birds in winter. Global Change Biology 14: 2489-2500.
  • Crowe, O., Austin, G.E., Colhoun, K., Cranswick, P.A., Kershaw, M. and Musgrove, A.J. 2008. Estimates and trends of waterbird numbers wintering in Ireland, 1994/95 to 2003/04. Bird Study 55: 66-77.
  • Austin, G.E., Maclean, I.M.D., Atkinson, P.W. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2007. The UK Waterbirds Alerts System. pp 705-710 in: Boere, G.C., Galbraith, C.A. & Stroud, D.A. (eds) Waterbirds Around the World. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh.
  • Austin, G.E., Rehfisch, M.M., Allan, J.R., Holloway, S.J. 2007. Population size and differential population growth of introduced Greater Canada Geese Branta canadensis and re-established Greylag Geese Anser anser across habitats in Great Britain in the year 2000. Bird Study 54: 343-352. 
  • Rehfisch, M.M. & Austin, G.E. 2007. Climate change and coastal waterbirds - the United Kingdom experience reviewed. pp 398-404 in: Boere, G.C., Galbraith, C.A. & Stroud, D.A. (eds) Waterbirds Around the World. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh. 
  • Atkinson, P.W., Austin, G.E., Rehfisch, M.M., Baker, H., Cranswick, P., Kershaw, M., Robinson, J., Langston, R.H.W., Stroud, D.A., Van Turnhout, C. & Maclean, I.M.D. 2006. Identifying declines in waterbirds: the effects of missing data, population variability and count period on the interpretation of long-term survey data. Biological Conservation 130: 549-559.
  • Jackson, S.F., Austin, G.E. & Armitage, M.J.S. 2006. Surveying waterbirds away from major waterbodies: implications for waterbird population estimates in Great Britain. Bird Study 53: 105-111.
  • Maclean, I.M.D. & Austin, G.E. 2006. WeBS Alerts 2004/2005: changes in numbers of wintering waterbirds in the United Kingdom, its constituent countries, Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).  
  • Wither, A., Rehfisch, M. & Austin, G. 2005. The impact of bird populations on the microbiological quality of bathing waters. Water Science & Technology 51: 199-207.
  • Austin, G. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2005. Shifting nonbreeding distributions of migratory fauna in relation to climatic change. Global Change Biology 11: 31–38.
  • Rehfisch, M.M., Austin, G.E., Freeman, S.N., Armitage, M.J.S. & Burton, N.H.K. 2004. The possible impact of climate change on the future distributions and numbers of waders on Britain’s non-estuarine coast. Ibis 146 (Suppl s1): 70-81.
  • Austin, G. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2003. The likely impact of sea level rise on waders (Charadrii) wintering on estuaries. Journal for Nature Conservation 11: 43-58.
  • Rehfisch, M.M., Austin, G.E., Armitage, M., Atkinson, P., Holloway, S.J., Musgrove, A.J. & Pollitt, M.S. 2003. Numbers of wintering waterbirds in Great Britain and the Isle of Man (1994/95-1998/99): II. Coastal waders (Charadrii). Biological Conservation 112: 329-341.
  • Rehfisch, M.M., Holloway, S.J. & Austin, G.E. 2003. Population estimates of waders on the United Kingdom’s and the Isle of Man’s non-estuarine coasts in 1997-98. Bird Study 50: 22-32. 
  • Austin, G.E., Musgrove, A.J., Rehfisch, M.M. & Armitage, M.J.S. 2002. An objective method of quantifying the avian interest of an area by means of a weighted population index. Wader Study Group Bulletin 99: 60-63.
  • Rehfisch, M.M., Austin, G.E., Holloway, S.J., Allan, J.R. & O’Connell, M. 2002. An approach to the assessment of change in the numbers of Canada Branta canadensis and Greylag Geese Anser anser in Southern Britain. Bird Study 49: 50-59. 
  • Austin, G.E., Rehfisch, M.M., Viles, H.A., & Berry, P.M. 2001. Impacts on coastal environments. pp 177-228 in: Harrison, P.A., Berry, P.M. & Dawson, T.P. (eds.) Climate Change and Nature Conservation in Britain and Ireland - modelling natural resource responses to climate change (the MONARCH project). UKCIP Technical Report, Oxford.
  • Harrison, P.A., Berry, P.M., Viles, H.A., Austin, G.E., Hossell, J.E. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2001. Overview of impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. pp 241-256 in: Harrison, P.A., Berry, P.M. & Dawson, T.P. (eds.) Climate Change and Nature Conservation in Britain and Ireland - modelling natural resource responses to climate change (the MONARCH project). UKCIP Technical Report, Oxford.
  • Austin, G.E., Peachel, I. & Rehfisch, M.M. 2000. Regional trends in coastal wintering waders in Britain. Bird Study 47: 352-371. 
  • Austin, G.E. & Houston, D.C. 1997. The breeding performance of the buzzard Buteo buteo in Argyll, Scotland and a comparison with other areas in Britain. Bird Study 44: 146-154.
  • Austin, G.E., Thomas, C.J., Houston, D.C. & Thompson, D.B.A. 1997. Predicting the spatial distribution of buzzard Buteo buteo nesting areas using a Geographical Information System and remote sensing. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 1541-1550.

Contact details

Email: graham.austin [at]
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.