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Headstarting is a collaborative effort between WWT, BirdsRussia and the RSPB, and occurs as part of the International Arctic Expedition mounted each year by BirdsRussia under the leadership of Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

Roland Digby

Roland, an aviculturist and bird-rearing veteran, travelled to join the expedition team in Anadyr – Chukotka, Russia – in 2011 as they returned from the breeding grounds. He reared and nurtured the young spoon-billed sandpipers to adulthood and through their long quarantine in Moscow before they were released to travel to WWT Slimbridge. Since 2012 Roland has led the field element of the head-starting project; trialing and successfully developing the techniques to successfully rear and release spoon-billed sandpipers in situ. Whilst all the while, training a dedicated team of Russian aviculturists to eventually take over the project.