New project brings Morecambe Bay, its seabirds, and environmental change into focus

Morecambe Bay with two fishing boats and seabirds in the foreground

A new Lancaster University project which calls for local people to watch the seabirds of Morecambe Bay is about to take full flight.

This research project, undertaken by geographer Dr Catherine Oliver, will explore the unique relationship between the local landscape, its seabirds, and climate change through the lens of the local community.

She is appealing for birdwatchers, community groups, organisations, charities, and any other interested individuals to come forward to help with the research.

Volunteers will be asked to participate in a recorded interview to talk about their relationships with the Bay and its seabirds.

Dr Oliver is also interested in collecting photographs and stories of the Bay’s birds via email or recordings.

“With the exciting announcement of the Eden Project North, it feels like the perfect time to celebrate the creatures and communities that make the Bay so special,” says Dr Oliver.

“With environmental and economic changes happening in the area, this research project over the next six months wants to highlight the importance of avian life to the Bay’s communities – and advocate for protecting it.

“Climate change is affecting all of us, but its effects are often focussed on the scientific and the human impacts.

“This project turns to the sea, seabirds, and the local community to look at how environmental change is changing relationships with the non-human world.”

She adds: “Throughout Morecambe, local avian life is celebrated: memorialised in statues, art, and poetry throughout the town centre.”

Dr Oliver cites the Morecambe Bay Partnership, the local charity promoting the nature, heritage and culture of the Bay, who say: "From salt marshes and sand dunes to woodlands and limestone grasslands, its patchwork of diverse habitats makes Morecambe Bay a haven for wildlife. But many of Morecambe Bay’s most charismatic species face global declines, making the landscapes of Morecambe Bay internationally important for wildlife.”

Serving as a breeding and feeding ground for a quarter of a million birds a year, the RSPB lists Morecambe Bay as one of the most important places for birds in Europe.

Over-wintering migratory birds come to Morecambe Bay to rest and roost, recovering from their migration on the mudflats.

However, with a changing climate, migration times are slowly shifting, patterns which mean over-wintering locations might change, seasons become shorter, with knock-on effects for birds, humans, and local ecosystems.

“This research project will explore the unique relationship between this local landscape, its seabirds, and lived experiences of climate change,” adds Dr Oliver.

Anyone interested is invited to get in touch via email ( to find out more, talk about the sea and its birds, and get involved in the research.

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