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Europe and Central Asia

Everything you need to know about Euro Birdwatch 2015

By Gert Ottens, 28 Aug 2015

On 3 and 4 October, 2015, tens of thousands of eyes all over Europe (and even beyond) will turn to the sky to witness the spectacle of bird migration at BirdLife Europe’s annual Euro Birdwatch.

As the summer and breeding season ends, birds begin to fly to the south of Europe and Africa. This makes it the perfect time for birders and scientists throughout Europe to observe, count and map the birds’ migration routes and migratory behavior. More than 30 BirdLife partner organisations from Europe and Central Asia are expected to participate this year.

But the event, which was first organised in 1993, is not just for professional birdwatchers. National organisations will hold events – which in the past have ranged from birdwatching excursions in national parks and important bird areas, to contests for children to identify birds by their song, and bird fairs – for anyone who is interested.

Euro Birdwatch aims to encourage people of all ages to go observe and enjoy birds, and to show the wonders of bird migration and the necessity of bird and flyway conservation.  It also draws attention to the efforts being made to save endangered bird species and their habitats.

In 2014, 38 countries from Europe and Central Asia took part in Euro Birdwatch, organising 1,184 events, with more than 33,000 people turning out to watch and help count the birds. The numbers, when it comes to the birds, are even more staggering: almost 7.5 million birds were counted last year, the highest in the history of the event.

As further proof of how important Euro Birdwatch is to spread awareness on protecting migrating birds: in the 21 years of its existence, more than 1.1 million people have participated in over 36,000 events to count almost 60 million birds as they fly south for the winter.

Migration counts in each country are organised either through a network of counting stations manned by experienced birdwatchers or through field trips to important bird areas. The numbers are collated by the country’s national BirdLife partner and then passed on to the European centre, which this year is the Netherlands’, Vogelbescherming Nederland. This organisation will publish preliminary results on the evening of 4 October and a full report later on.  

If you want to participate, look for your national partner organisation here, then contact them or check on their website for their list of events.

More information, downloads, results and photos of previous Euro Birdwatch events can be found here