Dedicated Ornithology Team

McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan has formed a dedicated ornithology team in response to the growing demand for bird survey work. The new team is responsible for all ornithology work being undertaken by the company. The dedicated team of eight ornithologists and ecologists gives the company a significant in-house survey capacity, which can be deployed on projects with the most demanding of survey schedules and requirements.

Headed up by Alex Ash (Senior Ornithologist/Field Coordinator) and Dervla O’Dowd (Senior Ecologist/Project Manager), the team is based in the company’s Galway office but is working on projects from Donegal to Cork, and from Galway to Kildare. Alex Ash joined MKO in October 2016 having spent the previous decade working in Scotland applying the full rigor of SNH bird survey methodologies. Dervla O’Dowd is an experienced ecologist and project manager and has been an integral member of MKO’s ecology team for more than a decade.

The team also included dedicated personnel responsible for the management survey datasets and GIS mapping. The team can also draw on the technical skills of in-house GIS support staff, as required.

The Ornithology team provides the following services:

  • Design and detailed scoping of bird surveys for projects,
  • Resourcing of all surveys with experienced ornithologists following best practice guidance in relation to relevant survey methodologies,
  • Management and coordination of all required site visits/surveys on budget and to schedule,
  • Liaison with clients and all project team members,
  • Consultation with all relevant statutory and non-statutory bodies and relevant stakeholders,
  • Management of all health and safety requirements associated with bird surveys,
  • Review and verification of all raw data submitted by the individual surveyors,
  • Compilation of all input data in the main project data base and presentation of results in a customised, easily searchable and clear format,
  • Production of project outputs including constraints studies, interim and final reports (including provision of individual, stand-alone EIS Chapters) and associated GIS mapping.
  • Currently, the bird survey unit is providing bird surveying services to both private and public sector clients for development-led projects such as renewable energy projects, as well as conservation planning.
  • The addition of the ornithology team has significantly expanded MKO’s ability to deploy its bird surveying expertise on projects nationwide.

Wind farm bird survey work over the current winter season has involved full survey programmes to the standard set out by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH, 2014).

The breeding bird survey schedule for 2017 is currently being prepared and will involve an expansion both in terms of sites to be surveyed and dedicated survey staff. MKO are currently recruiting suitably qualified ornithologists to supplement our current team.

The general bird breeding season commences on the 1st March. If you have any requirement for breeding bird or spring migration surveys, contact 091-735611 for expert advice on the scope and design of the most appropriate survey programme for your needs.


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