Research News



Latest News

My journey into scientific research

October 11, 2023
Charlotte Bartleet-Cross

My journey in scientific research (part 1)

As a teenager, unlike many of my friends, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do in life. I loved science, I had always loved science, but our school always pushed people to become doctors, lawyers, accountants. Finishing my A levels, I began to get nervous, I knew I wanted to go to university, but studying what? I took a year out straight after finishing secondary school and tried to figure it out, and eventually landed on zoology. I loved science, I loved animals, and like everyone else I loved David Attenborough, so why not?

Since finishing school, many people have asked me how I ended up on the other side of the world, getting covered in bird poo whilst staring through binoculars for hours at a time. It seems my path that led me to become a mad bird lady was unlike a lot of others, I wasn't bird obsessed as a youth. I had never birdwatched a day in my life, I Iived in the city and only really had experience of magpies and city pigeons.

After I had applied to study zoology, I decided to apply for a volunteer position in animal conservation. After many rejections (after all, conservation is a competitive field!), I got a place at the UK wolf conservation trust, performing animal husbandry tasks and recording ethograms after an alpha had been ousted from the pack. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to get involved in conservation or animal behaviour to take the time to volunteer. You will get valuable experience and learn what it means to do hard work for no pay! I had the opportunity to spend hours watching these creatures and it dawned on me as an 18 year old, that the world had so many mysteries, and I wanted to be one of the people to unravel them.

When I began my journey studying at University, it opened my eyes to a whole host of fantastic creatures. I got the joy of surveying molluscs on the beach, placing pitfall traps to see what insects were around, small mammal trapping, and, of course, surveying birds of all types to observe their fantastic and varied behaviours. Apart from all the fabulous unknowns of animal life, the thing that surprised me most was that I has absolutely no idea that my job could be scientific research, that I could get paid to discover the intricacies of animal life. Why was nobody talking about this? Why weren't people shouting it from the rooftops?

I decided then and there that if nobody else would, then I would be the one to shout from the rooftops! If people didn't know how to get into scientific research then I would tell them my own story. This is just part 1, and I will share all of the mad ramblings of a young researcher collecting data for the first time and hopefully inspire people to get a job in STEM, and experience the mad ride for themselves.


If you are a scientist and would like to shine a light on your recent research covering songbirds here in the UK, then let us know! As a supporter of our charity, if you have ideas for blog posts you would like to see and topics you would like us to cover on #theSBSblog, please contact us at or our Research and Engagement Manager at

get in touch