5 Dec 2014

Spring Alive springs to action for migratory bird conservation

A pair of European Bee-eaters from this years' Spring Alive photo competition. 'Courtship' by Simon Kovacic, Slovenia
By Shaun Hurrell

As migratory birds are settling in for winter in Africa, we reflect back on another successful season of Spring Alive. As well as celebrating the arrival of migratory birds, this year children and adults have been acting for their conservation all the way from Eurasia to Africa in this BirdLife educational conservation initiative coordinated by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland).

This year in Europe and Asia, nearly 67,000 children enjoyed welcoming their avian visitors, learned about their conservation, and took photos as they engaged in Spring Alive migration-themed activities. Over 500 events were held; over 1200 teachers used Spring Alive resources in their lessons; and a photo competition captured the magic of migration.

Photo: Consuelo SartoriSpring Alive encourages children and adults to take action for the migratory birds they learn about. All across the flyway, Partners and participants have been protecting swift nesting sites, installing and repairing nest boxes, building nest platforms for swallows, monitoring nesting locations of bee-eaters, fitting transmitters to cuckoos, looking after stork nests, promoting stickers to prevent bird collisions with glass, campaigning against illegal hunting, and more.

By posting their first sightings of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the www.springalive.net website, children from Europe, Central Asia and Africa create a real-time map of the incredible journeys these birds take every year. As well as by these migratory routes, Eurasian and African schools are also connected with matching initiatives like ‘Spring Twin’.

Winners of the photo competition organised on the Spring Alive flickr page were from Slovenia, Poland and Montenegro. This year, the Spring Alive website was adapted to compliment the increased use of mobile phone for internet browsing in Eurasia and Africa.

Spring Alive is in its 8th year and is getting bigger. For the first time, this year children from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Tunisia were also able to share in the common wonder of bird migration and conservation as these countries join a total of 54 participating countries in the campaign.

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As the African season comes to a close, we wait with anticipation for the results and hope to better the current record of 3.7 million people reached by Spring Alive.

Likewise, we wait in Europe for the return of the birds next year. Migratory birds face threats from climate change including drought and mis-timing of the emergence of insects; agriculture; urbanisation; and hunting. With appreciation and support of local children, hopefully these birds can find enough food and shelter to continue to return year after year.


Spring Alive in Europe & Asia in numbers:

  • 303 outdoor events and 200 indoor events held
  • 1,205 teachers used Spring Alive resources for their lessons
  • Nearly  67,000 children and over 7,189 adults directly engaged in Spring Alive
  • 649 volunteers were directly involved in Spring Alive activities
  • 1665 seniors took part in Spring Alive activities
  • 54 Partners involved, including 14 from Africa

Spring Alive is an international campaign to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds. Spring Alive is organised by OTOP, the BirdLife Partner in Poland, on behalf of the BirdLife Partnership. Wildlife groups, teachers and others who would like to become more involved in Spring Alive should contact the International Manager, Karolina Kalinowska, at karolina.kalinowska@otop.org.pl.

For more information go to: www.springalive.net

Follow Spring Alive on YouTube and flickr.


Spring Alive project would not be possible without the great support of The Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA), Spring Alive’s main sponsor. The aims of the MCFEA are to encourage the appreciation and conservation of flora and fauna with an emphasis on endangered species