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Report on the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme, December 2011

The report summarizes the activities of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) from December 2010 to December 2011. During this period we updated and published new European indices and indicators and started the collection of new national indices for the next update. The results were promoted in the leaflet as well as on the website. The increasing use and publication of the PECBMS results since the inception of the project were highlighted in the new section on the EBCC website. The regular meeting of all co-workers at the PECBMS workshop is under preparation and will take place in February 2012.

European species trends, indices and indicators
The update of the European indices and indicators (up to 2009) has been published at the EBCC website in August 2011 as well as in a form of a leaflet. This year we have increased the number of common birds for which we publish the trends and indices to 145 species including several new species characteristic for inland wetland and boreal forest habitat. Updated European common bird indicators (data up to 2009) were delivered to the Eurostat as well.

Collation of new national indices for the next data update
The collation of new national indices (up to 2010) is in progress since September 2011. We hope to enlarge our data set with new species again and increase our geographical coverage by including data from a new country. The publication of the new European indices and indicators for the time period until 2010 are planned on June 2012.

Overview of usage of the PECBMS results
New section "Use of PECBMS results" has been added to the PECBMS website. The aim of the section is to bring the concise overview of the use of the PECBMS results in both policy and science. This summary aims to emphasise that the use of our European indices and indicators is constantly increasing since the inception of the PECBMS. The complete list of scientific paper based on the PECBMS results can be found and the papers are available to download.

Project promotion
Project outcomes has been promoted at the different levels - either on national (e.g. three presentations at Czech conferences or meetings), or on international meetings (presentation at the workshop on citizen science organised by EEA in Copenhagen or the presentation at the EOU conference in Riga). Results of the latest European species indices and bird indicators update were used by BirdLife International in the press release on a reform of the EU CAP. The PECBMS web site has been continuously updated too.

Assistance to countries
Constant effort for improving and development monitoring schemes as well as providing advices and assistance on various methodological issues is on the every day PECBMS agenda. For example, during the last year, we supported the Latvian monitoring scheme in their attempt to obtain funding for the scheme from the government, we helped to calculate the indices for Lithuania and Cyprus, we assisted with developing new sampling for new monitoring schemes in Greece and Czech Republic and we visited Macedonia for discussions on developing common bird monitoring scheme. The software tool BirdStats, which is aimed to produce species population indices by TRIM more effectively, has been upgraded and its latest version, incl. improved manual, is available on the web site.

PECBMS workshop
Next workshop will be held in Mikulov, Czech Republic from 6 - 8 February 2012. The workshop should bring together all national coordinators and other co-workers as well as policy experts for discussions on the usage and developments of common bird indicators, on the potential increase of species and regional coverage or on the new research studies. The aims of the workshop are to revise the project outcomes after the 10 years of its existence and outline its future directions.

Birds in Europe 3
A three-year project to produce the third comprehensive assessment of the status of all European birds, Birds in Europe 3 (BiE3) will be launched at the kick-off meeting following PECBMS workshop in Mikulov. The project will be implemented by a consortium, led by BirdLife International, which includes the European Bird Census Council (EBCC), Wetlands International (WI), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology (SOVON), British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), PECBMS/Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO) and Stichting BirdLife Europe. Thus, PECBMS is expected to participate actively in the project covering particularly an issue of population trends of common species.

Further exploration of species population trends and indicators
The PECBMS has started working on pilot versions of common bird indicators for inland wetlands and boreal forests, we have also cooperated with University of Reading (UK) on a risk assessment of European forest birds. Results of these explorations will be presented at the PECBMS workshop in February 2012. The PECBMS has also cooperated actively with researchers from the University in Durham (UK) and Copenhagen (Denmark).


We have regularly met with the EBCC Board (two meetings), reported on the project and discussed further steps. Also the PECBMS Steering and Technical Groups met, in July 2011.

Acknowledgements
We are grateful to all who have contributed to the project, particularly coordinators of national or regional monitoring schemes, BirdLife Partners and EBCC national delegates.

Our thanks go to thousands of volunteer ornithologists across Europe as well!

Great help in data analysis and development of new tools is provided by Arco van Strien, Adriaan Gmelig Meyling, Tom van der Meij, and Tomáš Telenský.
Members of the Steering and Technical Group, Richard Gregory, David Noble, Ruud Foppen, Arco van Strien, Ian Burfield and Zdeněk Vermouzek, contributed by many valuable suggestions and comments. We also thank to Adrian Oates, Sue Robinson and Norbert Schaffer for their help and support.

The PECBMS is a joint project of the European Bird Census Council and BirdLife International, supported by the European Commission, Directorate General Environment, and by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The sole responsibility lies with the author of this article and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Contacts
Project coordinator: Petr Voříšek, PECBMS, Czech Society for Ornithology, Na Bělidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic, phone +420 257212465, e-mail: EuroMonitoringbirdlife.cz.
Technical assistant: Jana Škorpilová, PECBMS, Czech Society for Ornithology, Na Bělidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic, phone +420 257212465, email: skorpilovabirdlife.cz.
Project manager: Richard Gregory, Head of Species Monitoring and Research, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, United Kingdom, e-mail: richard.gregoryrspb.org.uk.

21 December 2011


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