Professor Chris Perrins, FRS

Research Interests

Chris Perrins joined the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology in October 1957 as a research assistant to David Lack working on the Blue and Great tits in Wytham Woods. This project developed into the EGI’s long-term study of these species in Wytham, now overseen by Professor Ben Sheldon.

He has also been involved with two other long-term projects. A study of Mute swans on the River Thames and at the colony at Abbotsbury, Dorset.  Amongst other things his team high-lighted the large numbers of deaths of swans from swallowing lead angling weights; this work lead to the banning of the use and sale of most sizes of lead weights, followed by a pleasing increase in swan numbers. In addition he has studied the seabirds on the Pembrokeshire islands of Skokholm and Skomer, looking especially at Manx shearwaters, Puffins and Razorbills.

During his time at the EGI he supervised almost 100 students for D.Phils. He was President of the International Ornithological Congress 1990-1994 and of the European Ornithological Union 1993-97.  He was appointed Director of the EGI in 1974, elected Professor of Ornithology in 1992,  Fellow of the Royal Society in 1997  and appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in 1987.  He was also appointed Her Majesty’s Swan Warden in 1993.

Contact Details

Selected Publications

Guilford, T.C., Meade, J, Freeman, R., Biro, D., Evans, T., Bonadonna, F., Boyle, D., Roberts, S. & Perrins, C.M. 2008. GPS tracking of the foraging movements of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus breeding on Skomer Island, Wales Ibis. In press.

Perrins, C.M., McCleery, R.H., Wheeler, D. & Groves, S. 2007. The effect of breeding status on the timing of moult in Mute Swans, Cygnus olor. Ibis 149, 86-90 | Read abstract/paper online

Charmantier, A., Perrins, C., McCleery, R.H. & Sheldon, B.C. 2006. Quantitative genetics of age at reproduction in wild swans: support for antagonistic pleiotropy of senescence. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 103, 6587-6592 | Read abstract/paper online

Charmantier, A., Perrins, C., McCleery, R.H. & Sheldon, B.C. 2006. Evolutionary response to selection on clutch size in a long term study of the Mute Swan. Amer. Nat. 167, 453-465 | Read abstract/paper online

Neto, J.M., Newton, J., Gosler, A.G. & Perrins, C.M. 2006. Using stable isotope analysis to determine the winter moult extent in migratory birds: the complex moult of Savi’s warblers Locustella luscinioides. J. Avian Biol. 37, 117-124 | Read abstract/paper online

Charmantier, A., Perrins, C., McCleery, R.H. & Sheldon, B.C. 2006. Age-dependent genetic variance in a life-history trait in the mute swan. Proc. R. Soc. B. 273, 225-232 | Read abstract/paper online

McCleery, R.H., Pettifor, R.A., Armbruster, P., Meyer, K. Sheldon, B.C. & Perrins, C.M. 2004. Components of variance underlying fitness in a natural population of the great tit Parus major. Amer. Nat. 164, E62-E72 |Read abstract/paper online

Perrins, C.M. (ed ). 2003. The New Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Perrins, C.M. 2003. The status of Marsh and Willow Tits in the UK. Brit. Birds 96, 418-426.

Perrins, C.M., Cousquer, G. & Waine, J. 2003. A Survey of blood lead levels in Mute Swans Cygnus olor. Avian Pathology 32, 205-212.

Perrins, C.M. 2002. Common Swift (Swift). Pp. 443-445 in Wernham, C.V., Toms, M.P., Marchant, J.H., Clark, J.A., Siriwardena, G.M. & Baillie, S.R. (eds.) The Migration Atlas: movements of the birds of Britain & Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, London