Europe and Central Asia

Batumi Bottleneck

Raptor migration in Batumi © Christian Gelpke

One of the most important migration routes on this planet, connecting the enormous landmasses of Asia and Africa, runs straight through the Caucasus. However, the mountainous geography poses big challenges for the millions of birds that pass through this region twice a year. During bad weather especially, they are forced to the narrow coastal plains or into deep valleys, where they concentrate in incredible numbers. At Batumi, on the Georgian Black Sea coast, it is not unusual to see over 100,000 Honey or Steppe Buzzards on a single day. Millions of passerines pass the bottleneck of Besh Barmag on the Caspian shore in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, these immense concentrations of birds also attract many poachers, who defy national and international laws protecting migratory birds. Our partners have been working hard to raise awareness and support law enforcement, in order to protect these magnificent birds.  


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