Ornithology team 2023 highlights

Our Ornithology has grown from strength to strength in 2023. We were delighted to announce the appointment of established team members to several key positions and new roles within the team, including Dervla O’Dowd as Associate Director, Padraig Cregg as Principal Ornithologist, Paddy Manley as Senior Ornithologist, Pete Capsey to the new position of Project Trainer (Ornithology) and Ciaran McKenna, Kathryn Sheridan and Nessa Lee to the role of Project Ornithologist.  We also welcomed two student interns from the University of Galway and ATU and several new Graduate Ornithologists as part of our Graduate Programme. Our new data team is also up and running, supporting our in-house surveyors and sub-contractors to ensure high standards of data management for the large volumes of data collected in the field. MKO is delighted to offer specialists in the discipline of Ornithology an opportunity to build a sustainable and successful career on their passion in life!

During 2023, the team has continued to play an integral role in delivering onshore wind energy projects nationwide, contributing to several Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIARs) and collecting data at c.50 proposed wind farm sites over the year. In addition, survey work has commenced on the onshore elements of several offshore wind energy projects and a number of lifetime extension and repowering projects for existing, operational wind farms to secure the current renewable energy supply into the future. Our operational bird monitoring team has continued to grow in collaboration with other MKO teams to provide before and after data for existing wind energy projects to inform best practices for future proposals.

Training highlights for the team in 2023 included two in-house dedicated team building and training days. Team members also benefitted from external training courses in personal effectiveness, interview skills, construction safety (safe pass) and manual handling, and leadership and management training as part of the Emerging Leaders programme. MKO’s training philosophy emphasises on-the-job and peer learning in all work areas. In 2023, the Ornithology team has focussed on in-house mentoring and training on field survey skills, particularly for our graduates, report-writing/impact assessment and data management/GIS.

Our Ornithology team has participated in many conferences over the past year, attending, presenting and sponsoring the CORC ‘23 Ornithological Research conference hosted by UCC in spring and the Irish Ecological Association Ecology and Evolution conference in Trinity College Dublin last January. MKO Ornithologists have also attended the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) conference, the Irish Raptor Study Group conference, the 7th Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts in Croatia in September and the CIEEM 2023 Autumn Conference: Modernising Ecology, Techniques and Approaches in the UK in November.

Our Ornithology team looks forward to 2024 to consolidate and build on the growth and development of the team over the past twelve months, continuing to build on our technical excellence and quality while working with colleagues and clients on key projects in the renewables, infrastructure, transport and conservation and heritage sectors.


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