Paul Donald: Birds, Buddhists and Bypasses; Tales of Trafficking & Traffication with that Lark Sex Ratio Guy

Senior Scientist at Bird Life International, previously the Principal Scientist at the RSPB, and before that at the BTO, Paul Donald is a world expert on things that fly. As such, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that he has focused this expertise into a groundbreaking book about roads, the things that travel upon them, and the damage they do to nature. This in depth discussion of two halves begins by showcasing how Paul helped re-establish the population of one of the world’s most endangered birds - the Raso Lark of the Cape Verde Islands, how birds living within the EU have greater life expectancy than those living outside it, and how Buddhist beliefs may be inadvertently bolstering the illegal trade in rare birds. From then it’s on to the “extinction driving, landscape splitting, wildlife slaughtering, soundscape shattering, pollution spewing, climate changing, health wrecking, global catastrophe” which Paul has labelled ‘Traffication’. Did you know that the area in a bird’s brain dedicated to song learning is smaller in a bird exposed to road noise? Did you know the first electric car dates from 1888? And did you know that there is a species of Nightjar known to exist purely because of a single piece of feathered roadkill scraped up from the tarmacadam?! But most importantly, if you drive a car, what single thing can you do today to help our wildlife? This and much more in November’s episode of Trees a Crowd.

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