The nest building team strikes again! This time we were at the Edinburgh Science International Science Festival to engage with the community through our pop-up science event: Why do Birds Build Nests? Here, both children and adults were provided the opportunity to view and handle birds' nests from our collection and to have their own go at building a nest themselves - harder than it sounds! Many decided to take their architectural accomplishment home with them, however, others helped to decorate our tree (see below), which, if I do say so myself, gives social weaver birds a run for their money! More photos can be found here.
It was my great pleasure to co-organise this year's European Student Conference on Behaviour & Cognition in St Andrews, UK. This conference aims to bring together early-career researchers (PhD and Masters students) from different disciplines to present their work and discuss current topics on the interface between animal behaviour, psychology and the cognitive sciences. As such, attendance is free and conference delegates are also provided coffee and lunch gratis.
This year, the conference was attended by 50 delegates from 11 countries, and many talks explored culture, innovative behaviour and social transmission of information in a variety of study systems, from great tits to humans. Additionally, we were privileged to hear two keynote lectures given by (1) Professor William McGrew (University of Cambridge) on Living Apes as Models for Dead Humans: Stones, Bones, and Ecotones and (2) Dr Andrew Young (University of Exeter) on Sex differences in cooperation and ageing in wild social vertebrates. The conference also included a lively round-table discussion on Gender Equality & Diversity in Academia.
Delegates further enjoyed the opportunity to hone their traditional Scottish dance skills by participating in an evening ceilidh, in addition to getting a flavor for the local pub culture.
Overall, the European Student Conference on Behaviour & Cognition provided delegates the opportunity to hone presentation skills, partake in critical (but constructive) discussions, and to build bridges within the broader scientific community—an invaluable experience! More photos here.