In my PhD, I am investigating the ecology and population dynamics of an emblematic mountain bird species, the Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus. The species is red-listed in Switzerland and, most importantly, one of the seven bird species with the highest priority for recovering programmes. This situation is urging the need for better knowledge on its ecological requirements in order to propose adequate conservation management.
The first part of my work is focusing on the crucial associations between the Ring Ouzel and its breeding timberline habitat. In particular, we want to highlight what are the key environmental factors at play in the selection of the foraging and nesting habitat. This fine-grained information is thought to guide the building of an area-wide habitat suitability model at the country scale. With such a model, we aim to make predictions on the future distribution of the species under different climate and land use change scenarii, in order to disentangle their potential negative effects. Finally, we are also developing a CMR project on a population in the Alps to study population dynamics. Birds will be ringed yearly over a 5-year period, and some of them additionally equipped with geolocators to study migration routes and overwintering areas.
This PhD thesis is part of the wider Alpine Birds Project (link)