Bringing Good Connections to Life – EAAFP 2020 World Migratory Bird Day Webinar by Theunis Piersma

This year the theme of World Migratory Bird Day is “Birds Connect Our World”, to highlight the importance of conserving and restoring the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems that support the natural movements of migratory birds. The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop us from being connected. In this Webinar, we have invited Prof. Theunis Piersma, Founder of Global Flyway Network; Professor and Chair in Global Flyway Ecology, University of Groningen; Senior Research Scientist, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research to share his story of migratory waterbird and “bring us good connections to life”.

Title: Bringing good connections to life

Speaker: Prof. Theunis Piersma

Date: 29 April, 2020

Time: 0900 CET (1600 KST)

Registration link:


Introduction of the presentation

Bar-tailed Godwit 4BWRB at Aphae Is., April 2020, ROK © Andreas Kim

Over the last decade, the Global Flyway Network, an international consortium for research and conservation of shorebirds based in The Netherlands, has worked hard to fundraise, catch and tag, track, analyze and publish for, and on the basis of, individual satellite tracking of Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits and Red and Great Knots. Satellite tracking is the only method to obtain ‘spatially unbiased’ information on the seasonal migrations of birds that connect the (far) north with the (far) south. It yields strong information on local space use, also for areas inaccessible to human observers. Yielding near-to-real-time information on the whereabout of individual birds, with the help of the necessary interfaces satellite tracking makes it possible for scientists and laypeople alike to keep in touch with the marathon migrants as they move from one outlandish place to another. In this webinar, Prof. Piersma hopes to weave a story about birds that connect places and people, and give us windows on coastal and tundra ecology, the state of the world.

Prof. Theunis Piersma © NWO/ Ivar Pel

 About Prof. Theunis Piersma

  • Professor and Chair in Global Flyway Ecology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen
  • Senior Research Scientist, Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
  • CEAAF Center for East Asian-Australasian Flyway Studies, School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University
  • Founder of Global Flyway Network
  • Awardee of Spinoza Prize (referred to as the ‘Dutch Nobel Prize’) in 2014
  • Awardee of top British ornithology award in 2017


As the founder of the applied research consortium Global Flyway Network, Prof. Theunis Piersma tries to shape the best possible ecological research on migrant birds in wetland habitats. A contributor to over 500 scientific publications, together with his research teams at NIOZ and RUG and within strong international collaborations, his research is focused on the individual animal, with much consideration for the environmental context in which they make their foraging and movement decisions. Together with Jan van Gils he wrote the enthusiastically received ‘The flexible phenotype. A body-centred integration of ecology, physiology, and behaviour’ (Oxford University Press, 2011). In 2016 BTO published his ‘Guests of summer. A House Martin love story’ (with a foreword by Ian Newton). Formerly Chair in Animal Ecology at the University of Groningen (2003-2012), from 2012 Theunis Piersma occupies the Rudi Drent Chair in Global Flyway Ecology. In 2014 he received the prestigious Spinoza Premium, the highest accolade for working scientists in The Netherlands.

Handouts of Prof. Piersma’s Webinar, click [here] to download.

Bringing Good Connections to Life – EAAFP 2020 World Migratory Bird Day Webinar

Comments are closed.