The loss of fallow land and farmland birds in Spain

A science blog post by Prof Richard Gregory has been published discussing the links between the loss of fallow land in Spain and the loss of farmland birds.

The story comes from the new research published in Scientific Reports by Juan Traba & Manuel B. Morales: The decline of farmland birds in Spain is strongly associated to the loss of fallowland.

The Great Bustard is one of the declining farmland birds which are typical for the cereal Steppe habitats in the Iberian Penninsula.
Photo by Martin Pelánek (

A new book: A Wild Bird and a Cultured Man

The Common Eider and Homo Sapiens: Fourteen Centuries Together

A popular science book by Alexandra Goryashko

Publication expected in 2019

The preparation of a popular science book on the world-wide history of the relationship between humans and the eiders – A Wild Bird and a Cultured Man (The Common Eider and Homo Sapiens: Fourteen Centuries Together) – for printing is nearing its end.
The author is the biologist and historian of science Alexandra Goryashko. This letter is to inform you about the upcoming publication which will be published in both Russian and English versions.

In five years the author has succeeded in writing a unique book that covers every aspect of the subject, from finding the remains of the eiders at the locations of ancient human settlements and the emergence of the naming of the eider in various languages to works of art dedicated to the eider and legends related to it.
The book describes the development of the scientific concept of the eider from the middle of the 17th century up to the present day, the history and present state of eider farms, the history and current state of eider hunting and the collection of eider eggs, as well as the history and the present state of eider protection laws. The book includes the chapters dedicated to eider biology, the story of the study of eider down properties, and its present-day use. We would like to emphasise that the story of human and eider relationship in Russia, which is but very little known to the world community, makes up a significant part of the book, and will for the first time be made available in English.
Research undertaken by the author encompasses all parts of the world where humans interact with the eiders in one way or another. Over two hundred people from fifteen countries were involved in collecting information and illustrations for the book. The author has studied over four hundred literature and archive sources from the 9th to the 21st century, collected over three hundred archive and modern photographs, and for a number of years has actively participated in field work in eider nesting locations on the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve in Russia and on eider farms in Iceland. A significant number of documents and photographs presented in the book are published for the first time. The book comprises approximately 800 pages.
Scientific editors are Alexander V. Kondratyev (PhD) and Mariya V. Gavrilo (PhD). The consultants are Mikhail V. Kalyakin (Dr. Sc.) and Pavel V. Kvartalnov (PhD). The translation into English was done by Pavel Voytinsky while David Leslie Urion edited the translation.
More information about the book can be found at the website.

The book is published with the informational and financial support of the Russian M.A. Menzbier Society for the Preservation and Study of Birds, Zoological museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Association “Maritime Legacy: Study and Preserve”, the Barents section of the WWF of Russia, the charitable fund “The Centre of Wild Nature Protection”, the Murmansk Regional Public Organisation “the Kola Centre of Wild Nature Preservation” and the joint stock company “Arctic Down Company RU-IS”. In part, the publication is financed by private donors, but we are still actively seeking financial help to publish the book, and would be very grateful if your organisation or any of its members would be willing to kindly assist us. The author will be happy to receive any offers of financial support for this unique, highly informative and interesting book.
The current status: the Russian version (including scientific and literary editing), including the selection of illustrations, and the translation into English, as well as editing, has been completed. Typesetting has begun, with about half of the Russian version done at the moment.

We would be extremely grateful if you could inform us whether you are interested in acquiring the book as it would help us in deciding how many copies of the English version we should print. Please let us know the number of copies you would like to receive by writing to

Mikhail Kalyakin

head of the Board of BirdsRussia,
director of Zoological museum of Lomonosov Moscow State University
member of the EBCC Board

EBBA2 workshop at the 21st EBCC conference, Bird Numbers 2019

More than 200 ornithologists, experts on bird monitoring, met at the beginning of April 2019 in Évora, Portugal. The conference programme covered many topics including talks and posters on bird distribution atlases. Furthermore, we organized a dedicated workshop on EBBA2 during the conference. Now a short report has been published particularly for those who are interested in EBBA2, but couldn’t attend the workshop in Évora. Since we are in final phases of producing the maps and writing the texts for the EBBA2, we encourage national coordinators, species experts and everybody interested in information where we are with the project, to read the report on EBBA2 website.

New volume of Bird Census News published

Additional to the special volume on Winter land bird Monitoring (29/1-2) we produced now another special volume, on Winter Garden Birds (31/1-2). You can read the contributions from Finland, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium. We hope you will like it!

The pdf version of BCN is available here.

We also would like to introduce our new editor in chief – Aleksi Lehikoinen from the Finish Museum of Natural History in Helsinki.

We thank the previous editor in chief Anny Anselin very much. Anny has been a passionate editor for uncredible 25 years since 1993.
Many thanks, Anny!

Anny Anselin with the first and the last issue of Bird Census News editted by her during 1993-2019.

Board of the European Bird Census Council

List of the EBCC Board members elected for the period 2019-2021 and the observers of EBCC Board:

Mark Eaton

Principal Conservation Scientist – RSPB
The Lodge
SG19 2DL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1767 693455

Verena Keller

Swiss Ornithological Institute
Seerose 1
6204 Sempach
Tel: +41 41 462 97 20

Dawn Balmer

Head of Surveys – British Trust for Ornithology
The Nunnery
IP24 2PU
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 01842 750050

Chris van Turnhout

Head of Monitoring Team – Sovon
Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology
PO Box 6521
6503 GA Nijmegen
Tel: +31 24 7 410 471

Henning Heldbjerg

Delegates Officer, Bird Census News editing team
Department of Bioscience
Aarhus University
Grenåvej 14, Kalø
8410 Rønde
Mobile: +45 24273250

Mikhail Kalyakin

Zoological Museum of Moscow
Lomonosov State University
Bolshaya Nikitskaya Str., 6
125009 Moscow
Tel: +7 495 629 49 08

Danae Portolou

Communications Officer
Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS)
Themistokleous str 80
10681 Athens

Aleksi Lehikoinen

Research and Data Research Officer, Bird Census News editor
Finnish Museum of Natural History
P. Rautatiekatu 13 (P. O. Box 17)
FI-00014 Helsinki
Mobile: +358-45-1375732

Jean-Yves Paquet

Communications Officer
Birdlife Belgium
Department of Studies Namur
Walloon Region

Ainars Aunins

Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology
University of Latvia
Jelgavas iela 1
LV-1004 Riga
Mobile: +371-29470780


Iván Ramírez

Head of Conservation for Europe and Central Asia
BirdLife International
Wellbrook Court
Girton Road Cambridge
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1223 279834

Szabolcs Nagy

Senior Biodiversity Officer
Wetlands International
PO Box 471, 6700 AL
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 628 55 48 23

Alena Klvaňová

Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme project manager
Czech Society for Ornithology
Na Bělidle 34
CZ-150 00 Prague 5
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 257 212 465

Gabriel Gargallo

EuroBirdPortal observer
Catalan Ornithological Institute

Sergi Herrando

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 observer
Catalan Ornithological Institute

Miniworkshop on wild bird indicators 2019

On 11–12th March a miniworkshop dedicated to wild bird indicators took place in Solsona, Spain. The Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC) hosted more than 20 experts in bird monitoring thanks kind invitation from Lluís Brotons.

On Monday we discussed the new forest bird indicator. We suggested to produce two types of indicators – General forest bird indicator and Mature forest bird indicator. We also agreed to apply more objective, trait-based approach to species selection which was presented by Simon Butler. We identified future steps to be done to develop the new forest bird indicators and we will present them on PECBMS workshop in Evora.

On Tuesday we discussed possible future development of farmland bird indicator and other indicators such as Montane bird indicator, Mire bird indicator or Urban bird indicator on European and national scale.

On Wednesday EBBA2 meeting organized by Aleksi Lehikonen took place. We discussed potential research projects using EBBA2 data.

Discussions in CTFC.

The workshop took place in a wonderful countryside near Solsona.

Lunch in a local restaurant.

During the breaks there was also some time for birdwatching.

New leaflet “State of common European breeding birds 2018”

In March we have produced new leaflet presenting the trends of 170 common European bird species based on data from 28 countries covering 37 years (1980–2016). The leaflet summarises outputs of this 2018 data update and presents a nice example of use of bird monitoring and atlasing in species conservation. PECBMS and EBBA2 data on the European Turtle-dove helped to identify Prioroty Intervention Areas for this species.

You may download the pdf version of the leaflet.

Of the 170 species covered, in long-term 52 increased moderately, 65 declined moderately and one steeply, while 46 remained stable. In six cases the species´trends remained uncertain.

Of the 170 species, only 168 are included in the common bird indicators for Europe and EU. The Cyprus wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) and Cyprus warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) have been excluded as they are endemic species for Cyprus.

All common species (168 sp.) declined by 15 % since 1980, common forest birds (34 sp.) declined by 6 % and the worst decline continued in common farmland birds (39 sp.), of which we have lost 57 % since 1980.

European wild bird indicators. The numbers in italics show the numbers of species in each indicator which are moderately or steeply declining, moderately or strongly increasing, stable and ucertain.

Bird monitoring and atlasing is helpful in the identification of threats and also in steering conservation actions: using the data collected for the Second European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2), experts modelled probability of European Turtle-dove occurrence in Europe on 10×10 km grid. The map was then used to identify Priority Intervention Areas (PIAs) (Herrando et al. 2018), which indicate where conservation interventions might be best directed.

Priority Intervention Areas (PIAs) for European Turtle-dove. Intensity of green colour indicates modelled probability of species occurence.

We thank to

the thousands of skilled volunteer counters responsible for data collation;

Arco van Strien, Adriaan Gmelig Meyling and Tom van der Meij (Statistics Netherlands), Jana Škorpilová and Maaike de Jong who contributed with final data analysis and computation procedure;

Richard D. Gregory, Mark Eaton and Carles Carboneras for their help and valuable comments on the leaflet;

Jiří Bartoš (, Martin Mesnarowski (, Ondřej Prosický ( and Zdeněk Jakl ( for their beautiful photos which they provided for this leaflet;

Anne Teller, Richard D. Gregory, Ruud P. B. Foppen, David G. Noble and Zdeněk Vermouzek for help and general support.

If you wish, ask for the printed version of the leaflet via e-mail: We apologize for a mistake in the printed version of the leaflet. In the legend for the graph of wild bird indicators there are the colours for the common species and farmland species confused. All common birds should be in blue and farmland birds should be in red. We are very sorry for this inconvenience! The pdf for download is corrected.

You may read more on PECBMS website.

PECBMS workshop on EBCC conference 2019

Do you plan to attend our workshop dedicated to the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme in Bird Numbers 2019 conference? Here is the programme!

The workshop will take place on Friday 12th of April, 6–7.30 PM in the Grand auditorium (room 102).

Mainly the national coordinators of the bird monitoring schemes contributing to PECBMS will attend, but also other participants are welcome.

Aims: To inform PECBMS coordinators and wider network about progress in our work, to introduce the new tools for computation and data delivery and stimulate discussion about future plans and priorities.

You can download the final agenda of the workshop PECBMS workshop at the EBCC conference.

The 21st EBCC Conference Bird Numbers 2019 ‘Counting birds counts’ is coming!

The programme of the conference Bird Numbers 2019 is available here!

The guidelines for presentations (oral communications and posters) of the 21st EBCC Conference BIRD NUMBERS 2019, counting birds counts, is now online !

Please visit conference website for guidelines.

You can also follow us in Facebook social network.

We look forward to meeting you in 12 days in Évora!

Ruud P. B. Foppen, Chairman EBCC

João E. Rabaça, on behalf of the National Organising Committee

Bird Numbers 2019 offers a fieldtrip to Tagus Estuary

EVOA – Tagus Estuary Birdwatching and Conservation Area, Portugal – sees everyday guided tours carried out, as well as regular passerine and ducks ringing sessions. Since opening, more than 2500 birds have been ringed here, some with GPS. Every week bird counts are performed at the three lagoons within the area. Physical, chemical, and biological water parameters are also monitored to work towards increasing wetland knowhow.

Located in the heart of the most important wetland of Portugal, the Tagus Estuary Natural Reserve allows visitors to get to know and enjoy the unique heritage that exists between the floodplain and the Tagus Estuary.

Fig. 1 – Credits: Pedro Colaço
EVOA is managed by Companhia das Lezírias (, and opened to the public in 2013, already having received more than 38.000 visitors, including 22.000 students integrated in environmental education activities.

Fig. 2 – Credits: EVOA
Three freshwater wetlands are integrated in EVOA, equalling a total of 70 ha. These lagoons are very important for the birdlife, being used as refuge or nesting areas.

Fig. 3 – Credits: Pedro Colaço
To guarantee tranquillity for the birds, and to maximize the visitor experience and comfort during the visitation, there are six observatories amongst the lagoons, several inconspicuous viewpoints, and a Visitor Centre.

Fig. 4 – Credits: Pedro Colaço
EVOA sees everyday guided tours carried out. Since 2018, some are performed by electric car, which can drive around up to fourteen visitors. We also have workshops and other events every month. You can follow these activities at or on Facebook @EVOAves.

Figs. 5a, 5b – Credits: EVOA
There are regular passerine and ducks ringing sessions, in collaboration with the Coordinator of European duck nasal marking ( and ICNF (The National Institute for Nature Conservation). Since 2017, we have already ringed 664 ducks, including teals, pintails, shovelers, and mallards. The first European shoveler with GPS was ringed at EVOA on October 22nd, 2017.

Fig. 6 – Credits: Jacques van Wijlick
At EVOA, the mixed colony of collared pratincole, little tern, Kentish plover, and black-winged stilt is being monitored, but counting nestlings and flying chicks is a challenging task. There is still a lot to do in this field, and this is one of the projects that has been developed by ICNF with the EVOA team’s support. Research into potential egg or nest predators (mammals) is still needed.

Fig. 7 – Credits: Pedro Colaço
Physical, chemical, and biological water parameters are also monitored to help increase wetland knowhow and to prevent waterfowl diseases, like botulism. Last year, we became part of a Erasmus project, led by The Norwegian Dokka Upper Secondary School, with three other project partners including: WWT Martin Mere and the WLI initiative (UK), the Randsfjordsmuseum (Norway), and the Urdaibai Bird Centre (Basque Country, Spain). The project, named BioWet – Biological Diversity in Wetlands, aims to develop a monitoring tool that allows students visiting wetland centres to collect and upload data, showing the impacts of climate change on local wetlands. The partners will work with their local school students to carry out survey work and develop guidelines for collecting data, as well as feeding into the design of a user-friendly web-based database that will display their information.