Simon Gillings

Principal Data Scientist

Simon works with colleagues across BTO to provide strategic leadership, and analytical and design input, into the development of data products for internal and external audiences. In parallel, he leads the development of tools for acoustic monitoring of birds.

Interests & Responsibilities

Simon’s main interests are in developing methods and applications that turn BTO data into accessible, robust and visually appealing products for different audiences and stakeholders. Through this, he aims to improve knowledge about bird populations and support conservation and management work.

He is keen to integrate different data to produce improved insights. For example, he produces BTO Data Reports to contribute to Environmental Impact Assessments.

In parallel, Simon works with BTO’s Stuart Newson to develop bioacoustic monitoring tools, which are implemented through the BTO Acoustic Pipeline. A thorough understanding of the identification of birds by flight calls led Simon to develop tools for automated species identification using machine deep learning. 

Other Information

Simon is a keen birder and sound recordist, and regularly uses passive sound recording to monitor nocturnal bird migration. Simon maintains as a resource for others interested in starting to record nocturnal bird migration. 


Recent BTO Publications

Heywood, J.J.N., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S., Gillings, S. & Harris, S.J. 2023. The Breeding Bird Survey 2022. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-53-3 36pp
Noble, D.G. & Gillings, S. 2023. Production of smoothed population trends when a key year of data is missing.. Research Report no. 748. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, UK ISBN: 9781912642434 12pp
Clark, J.A., Gillings, S., Clark, N.A., Cole, K.B., Breese, G., Woods, J.L., Bellman, H.A. & Robinson, R.A. 2023. How important is it to standardise the measured mass of shorebirds weighed at varying intervals after capture?. Wader Study 130 (part 1) View at journal website (DOI: 10.18194/ws.00297)
Harris, S.J., Massimino, D., Balmer, D.E., Kelly, L., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Woodcock, P., Wotton, S. & Gillings, S. 2022. The Breeding Bird Survey 2021. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-37-3 36pp
Gillings, S. & Harris, S.J. 2022. Estimating the carbon footprint of citizen science biodiversity monitoring. People & Nature View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10333)

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