Home > Research > Activities > Blue Avian Landscapes, Morecambe Bay
View graph of relations

Blue Avian Landscapes, Morecambe Bay

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Birds have long served as “signal species” of anthropogenic climate change and a human-altered earth. Broiler chickens indicate a reconfigured biosphere, Adelie penguins trace the impacts of melting ice caps, and plastic particles found in vultures feeding on landfill signal chemical pollution. But, in Morecambe Bay, avian life is thriving in a rich and diverse natural landscape, that patchworks ‘salt marshes and sand dunes, woodlands and limestone grasslands [into] a haven for wildlife’ (Morecambe Bay Partnership). Across Morecambe’s beaches and town centre, local avian life isn’t just celebrated, it is memorialised in statues, art, and poetry throughout the town. In this paper, I contend that Morecambe’s changing more-than-human landscape is cultivated through relationships between migratory birds, other non-human marine life, human communities, ecological regeneration projects, and the touch of the tides between land and water.

Britain’s “bonniest bay” has seen ‘the lives of the people around the bay intertwined with the land, sea and sky whose fruits and creatures they depended on for existence’ (Bingham 1990: 42). Two decades ago, Morecambe Bay was described by Lancaster University ecologist JB Whittaker as a “laboratory for climate change” (Whittaker, 2003) while more recently its hauntingly beautiful landscape has served as inspiration in literature and nature writing. Using a motif of juxtaposition, I tell stories of Morecambe Bay and its seabirds as part of an ever-changing more-than-human landscape, shaped by animal presences and absences as much as it is by human, geological, and tidal ones.

Event (Workshop)

TitleAnimals and Landscape Symposium
LocationEdge Hill University