Over three days, more than 100 volunteers of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and experts from state institutions will participate in the large scale initiative – International Waterbird Census in Bulgaria. Participants will visit all major water bodies in the country, spread in more than 40 teams. The census starts on January 12 (Friday) and will last until January 14 (Sunday) .
“This winter we are witnessing high temperatures, unusual for this time of the year – spring time during the winter months of December and January. This will almost certainly affect the number of wintering water birds in our country, “ commented long-standing participants in the event from across the country.
Experts from the BSPB, who work in the field, have not yet observed concentrations of the typical northern species that regularly winter in our country, such as globally threatened Red-breasted Goose and Greater White-fronted Goose, Long-tailed Duck and White-headed Ducks.
Bulgaria is a preferred wintering place for a number of waterbird species and therefore this year’s tracking of the numbers is of even greater interest to the participants in order to see if the birds typical for this time of the year have arrived and how many of them have reached Bulgaria.
We recall that in the middle of January last year, in these same places, there were enormous concentrations of birds – over 400,000 white-fronted geese, about 44,000 red-breasted geese out of a total of nearly 687,000 waterbirds of over 150 species.
At the end of the week the teams of volunteers and experts will again survey more than 2000 wetlands along the Danube and Black Sea coast as well as all major dams and rivers inside the country. Again the participants will count the number, type and distribution of birds as they have been doing for 42 years now.
The results will answer the question “More or less birds are wintering in Bulgaria this year and what are the main threats to them?”
“In addition to this, the data collected during the International Waterbird Census will also serve to assess the changes in the status of the populations of the observed species,” commented Svilen Cheshmedzhiev, coordinator of the BSPB event. “The visits of so many wetlands located all over the country will give us an idea of the changes that occur in the environment inhabited by these species and the extent to which they cause a change in the number of wintering birds in our country. And let us not forget , that this is the environment we live in. “
International Waterbirds Census is one of the most massive events in the field of nature conservation. It is carried out in more than 100 countries and includes about 25,000 wetlands, many of which are part of the Natura 2000 ecological network. Nearly 15,000 experts and volunteers participate in all the countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East where the census is taking place.
Partners in the census in Bulgaria this year are the Executive Agency on Environment, Balkani Wildlife Society, Bulgarian Ornithological Center, Green Balkans Federation, Wild Flora and Fauna Fund and Persina Nature Park – Belene. The field teams will also be joined by representatives of the Union of hunters and anglers in Bulgaria. The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) also has a major role to play in the census, providing cars and experts from its regional units, who will also carry out control checks for violations of the Biodiversity and Hunting Acts. Assistance in the census will be provided by the State hunting estate of Dicchan near village of Satovcha and the State Forestry Estate of Gotse Delchev, which will support the census in the Mesta River and Dospat reservoir as well as experts from the Municipality of Kozloduy who will carry out the Ogosta River census. Iskar dam and some of the water basins in Sofia will be visited by volunteers at Club “Skorets” at the Faculty of Biology of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “.
If you would like to contact a representative of the BSPB regional offices, please visit: http://bspb.org/bg/contacts.html