Birgit Fessl

Principal Investigator - Landbird Conservation

Birgit has been studying land birds on the Galapagos Islands for just over 25 years. She has extensive experience in bird ecology, bird monitoring and host-parasite interactions with a special focus on the impact of the invasive avian vampire fly, Philornis downsi, that she and her colleague Sabine Tebbich from University of Vienna discovered in 1997.

Birgit led the project Protection and Recovery of the Mangrove Finch from 2006 to 2009. In addition to population monitoring, she conducted nest predation studies and initiated, together with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, a program to control the introduced rat (Rattus rattus). Birgit still offers technical support to the Project.

Since 2014, and in partnership with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Birgit has been coordinating priority actions outlined in the Galapagos Land Bird Conservation Plan that includes the evaluation of the conservation status of land birds, the identification of the principal threats that some of these species are facing, the development of management actions, and a citizen science component.