Europe and Central Asia
24 Jan 2017

Emergency Appeal: Cold front hits waterbirds hard

Red-breasted and Greater White-fronted Geese in Bulgaria © V. Mladenov
By Gui-Xi Young

Help support the emergency measures to protect waterbirds caught up in snow storms & extreme low temperatures in South-eastern Europe – please donate to the Waterbird Fund.

For the past five decades, thousands of birdwatchers from around the globe have volunteered annually to help with the International Waterbird Census, making it one of the largest citizen science programmes in the world! Many of our national BirdLife partners work closely with Wetlands International and AEWA[1] to help coordinate regional field teams with local counts and with implementing special species or regionally focussed waterbird monitoring programmes.

Unfortunately, this year, our friends in the Balkans are sending us very disturbing pictures and first-hand accounts of large numbers of waterbirds – such as the endangered Red-breasted Goose – suffering greatly from exposure to the extreme low temperatures and snow storms affecting South-eastern Europe. BirdLife has joined calls for national authorities and hunting associations to take emergency measures and have welcomed the temporary suspension of hunting in Bulgaria and Greece during this perilous time. This emergency situation requires intensive monitoring, but the resources of the regional waterbird count field teams in the Balkans and around the Aegean Sea – already so reliant on volunteers – have been stretched to their limits.


Little Grebe in Bosnia and Herzegovina © Narcis Drocic

And so, this emergency appeal to gather donations has been launched. Funds donated will go to support field teams across South-eastern Europe to monitor the changes in numbers and conditions of waterbirds at key cold weather refuges (i.e. where significant numbers concentrate during harsh weather conditions) and to update national authorities on emergency measures. Your money can make a huge difference for Little Grebes in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Eurasian Coots in Serbia and so many other beautiful species.

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If you want to support this emergency appeal, please use the bank account details provided on the Waterbird Fund’s donation page and write “SE Europe Emergency” into the note field of your transfer instructions.

Many thanks for your kind support!


Mallard in Serbia ©  Aleksandar Jankovic


Gui-Xi Young is a writer & editor at BirdLife Europe & Central Asia.

For further information, please contact Cy Griffin, European Programme Manager at Wetlands International (+32 473 78 58 06) and/or BSPB/BirdLife in Bulgaria and CZIP/BirdLife in Montenegro

[1] Wetlands International is a global NGO that works to sustain and restore wetlands and their resources for people and biodiversity. AEWA (African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement) is an independent international treaty, developed under the auspices of the United National Environment Programme’s Convention on Migratory Species.  Many BirdLife partners work with Wetlands International and AEWA to coordinate the Strategic Working Group of the African-European Waterbird Monitoring Partnership.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.