In project HORUS we are collaborating with different partners from different countries that are also working with the lesser kestrel. Considering that some of our followers may have difficulties reading Spanish this time we are having an interview in English. We interview Inês Catry, who is participating with us in a project that tries to find out why some lesser kestrels remain in the south of the Iberian Peninsula in winter instead of migrating to Africa. Inês is from Lisbon, Portugal. She is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center of Applied Ecology "Prof. Baeta Neves" of the University of Lisbon and she knows well the Portuguese lesser kestrels.
Q:Why did you decide to work on science and do research on birds?
A:It wasn’t so much a decision as it was all I ever wanted to work on. I started bird watching when I was around eight, with my older brother. I remember going on holiday with my parents and taking notes of every observed bird during those trips. I still keep my note books from that time.
Q: What does your mother think about your work?
A: All four of her children are scientists, three of them work with birds, what can she do?
Q:What do you like the most and which is the worst part of your work?
A: The best is fieldwork, although after three months in the field I’m glad to be back at home and excited about analysing the data collected.. The worst part in Roller (Coracias garrulus) vomit.
Q: What kind of research are you doing with the lesser kestrels?
A: I started working with lesser kestrels fourteen years ago. Since then, the research has included many aspects of their ecology, such as habitat and prey selection, impacts of agriculture management, nest-site selection, etc. I’ve also studied their migration using light-level geolocators, particularly looking at migratory routes and wintering grounds. More recently I’m interested on the impacts of future climate change. The ecological impacts and costs of predicted increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation are not fully understood and may present unexpected challenges to conservationists that require solutions.
Q: And why the lesser kestrel and not other species?
A: I not only work with lesser kestrels, I also work with rollers and white-storks. But lesser kestrels represent a very good model species as they are colonial and very easy to manipulate. Moreover, they are a migratory species, which poses a greater number of questions.
Q: You are collaborating with HORUS project, why do you think HORUS it is important?
A: The technology applied in this project enables us to look in detail to many aspects of the ecology of lesser kestrels. The amount of data generated is amazing. Moreover, it has an important role in increasing public awareness.
Q: Can you tell us an anecdote related to your work?
A: There’s a very friendly dog at one of the lesser kestrel colonies where I work. He keeps eating my folders. First time it happened I spent more than half an hour looking for my folder and asking some local people if they’ve seen it. I couldn’t imagine that the dog was the guilty!
Q: If you had to define your work with a single word which one would it be?
Q: Even if it sounds rude, ¿how much money do you earn in your job?
A: I have a post-doctoral grant from the Portuguese government. 1490 euros/month.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I ride my bike, watch football (Benfica!) and hang out with friends.
Q: Which is the most exciting part of your work?
A: Lately, it’s been retrieving birds with geolocators and find out where rollers and lesser kestrels are going during the winter period.
Q: If you could choose, would you choose research again?