Outreach – Research Illustration

Illustration by Alina Loth

Illustration by Alina Loth

David‘s work on hummingbirds has been included in the Research Illustration project, which aims to communicate science through the use of art. After contacting David, the team of artists and researchers put together a piece on his paper ‘Wild rufous hummingbirds use local landmarks to return to rewarded locations‘, and the final product is available here.

Welcome back!


Rockies - groupTwo of our PhD students, Maria and Georgina, have just returned from Canada, having completed 7 weeks of fieldwork in the Rockies. They had two undergraduates, Amy and Ellen, helping them work with wild male rufous hummingbirds, and everyone seems to have had an enjoyable time and collected some exciting data!


I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to work with a group of brilliant scientists on such an interesting topic. Our avian subjects were delightful to work with, and the area of study was beautiful. We collected some interesting data, and had great fun doing it. Thanks to Dr Sue Healy and Dr Andy Hurly for having me, and thank you to Georgina Glaser and Maria Tello Ramos for being great mentors. It was truly an amazing experience to work with the hummingbirds, one I shall never forget. 

– Amy Gresham, The University of Nottingham



Before I left for Canada I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first experience of fieldwork. However, after spending 8 weeks studying the male rufous hummingbirds in the Rocky Mountains, I feel I have gained invaluable skills in problem solving and innovative thinking. I was also fortunate to spend time with like-minded scientists, who taught me much about the world of academia from their own experiences of biological research. I am grateful to have studied in a remote location and encountered such wildlife as I did, and above all the experience revealed to me my own particular interests within the field of Zoology.

– Ellen Bird, The University of Edinburgh

Spatial navigation in hummingbirds

To test spatial memory, David Pritchard taught hummingbirds to feed from an artificial flower positioned between two landmarks. He then removed the flower and watched to see where each hummingbird searched for it, recording how close the bird stop to where the flower had been positioned using two video cameras 90 degrees apart so the flight path could be recreated and analysed using specialist software.

David3 copyThese experiments will provide some insight into how hummingbirds use landmarks to remember the locations of flowers they have visited.