Monitoring of common birds

The project is a part of all-European program in which more than 20 countries are involved (http://www.ebcc/pecbm.html). The purpose of the project is monitoring of common species of birds in their typical habitats.

Monitoring of common species of birds has been carried out in some European countries since 1980s. Since 2002 it has become the part of all-European program in which more than 20 countries are involved (http://www.ebcc/pecbm.html). The primary objective of this program is identification of the trends and the amount (indexes) of changes in the number of common species of birds as the indicators of the habitat status – not only for particular regions and countries but for Europe as a whole. It goes without saying that generalization of information for Europe without taking into account the trends of changes in the number of birds in European Russia (considering our vast territory and social and economic changes that are in many ways different from other European countries) leads to grossly distorted, and more often, to erroneous results. That’s why European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and BirdLife International are greatly concerned about Russia’s involvement into the international monitoring. From our point of view we have all the conditions despite our vast territory and lack of ornithologists. Indeed many of us can do (or they are already doing) simple counting of common species of birds together with their basic fieldwork , during students’ field practice, summer trips with young naturalists or during their holiday in the country. Our task is to collect different pieces of information into the single «piggy bank» which will help to create an general picture for European Russia.

The basic requirements for the participation in all-European monitoring are: good knowledge of common species of birds and annual counting work on the same routes.

The places for choosing counting routes must be typical for your region (district). One shouldn’t try to do the counting in some special places that are rich in birds or hard to get (reservations, important bird areas). The more typical the habitat is – the more significant information is as a result.

Monitoring of common species of birds is the important and necessary task. It’s quite feasible and interesting not only for professional ornithologists but for experienced amateurs as well. Russia cannot be, and is not meant to be, in the background of this all-European program. Apart from its scientific interest the monitoring has undoubtedly practical environment-oriented value. Indeed, without the knowledge of dynamics and indexes of changes in the number we cannot identify vulnerable species, species with bad tendencies (among common species) and we cannot make well-reasoned presentation for officials and strive for effective measures aimed at protection of these species.