Simon Gillings

Head & Principal Ecologist

Simon leads a dynamic team of seven research ecologists tackling applied questions using a combination of intensively collected field data and large-scale datasets collected by BTO citizen scientists.

BSc (Hons) Ecology, University of East Anglia, 1992-1995 PhD Diurnal and nocturnal ecology of Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria and Lapwings Vanellus vanellus wintering on arable farmland, University of East Anglia, 1999-2003

Interests & Responsibilities

Simon's main interests concern the factors shaping bird distributions and what causes them to change through time. Simon was lead analyst for the recently published Bird Atlas 2007-11 and is now actively engaged in research to understand what has driven the significant range changes that were documented. This work includes consideration of urbanisation, management of agricultural land, upland issues and climate change. Simon oversees related work via the research programme of the Breeding Bird Survey. He has a long-standing interest in the ecology and foraging behaviour of shorebirds, including Lapwings and Golden Plovers.

Other Information

Simon is a keen birder and avid user of BirdTrack. As such he is always keen to see the use of birdwatchers' records for research and conservation through appropriate analytical design and novel data visualisation. A recent example is the production of data-driven calendar wheels and novel seasonal abundance maps for the Collins-BTO Guide to British Birds.

Recent BTO Publications

Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E., Caffrey, B.J., Downie, I.S., Gibbons, D.W., Lack, P.C., Reid, J.B., Sharrock, J.T.R., Swann, R.L. & Fuller, R.J. 2019. Breeding and wintering bird distributions in Britain and Ireland from citizen science bird atlases. Global Ecology and Biogeography View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/geb.12906)
Graham, L.J., Spake, R., Gillings, S., Watts, K. & Eigenbrod, F. 2019. Incorporating fine-scale environmental heterogeneity into broad-extent models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13177) 12pp
Finch, T., Gillings, S., Green, R.E., Massimino, D., Peach, W.J. & Balmford, A. 2019. Bird conservation and the land sharing‐sparing continuum in farmland‐dominated landscapes of lowland England. Conservation Biology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13316)
Massimino D. & Gillings S. 2018. Updating information on the period of reproduction and prenuptial migration for UK and Irish species included on Annex II of the EU Birds Directive. Research Report no. 711. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford ISBN: 9781908581976 30pp
Clark, J.A., Atkinson, P.W., Dey, A., Gillings, S., Mace, J. & Neima, S. 2018. Large gulls taking fully grown shorebirds during spring passage in Delaware Bay, USA. Wader Study 125 (part 2) : 144-146 View at journal website (DOI: 10.18194/ws.00119) 3pp

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