Spring is arguably the most beautiful time of year in Cyprus. The landscape is green and lush, the wildflowers are blooming and birdsong floods the countryside. From end of March to early June it is the busiest time of year for our Monitoring and Research Coordinator and all our bird monitoring volunteers.
As our resident and migrant breeders are getting down to the business of the breeding season, claiming their territories, building their nests and rearing this year’s broods, the BirdLife Cyprus team is engaged in the annual breeding bird surveys and monitoring programmes.
The Common Birds Monitoring Scheme, which was set up in 2006, aims to estimate trends in the populations of our relatively common and widespread breeding birds and contributes to the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme. Not only do these monitoring data help scientists understand how and why bird populations are changing across Europe, they are also delivered to policy and decision makers in Cyprus and the European Union. European indicators based on bird population trends are included in the European Union’s structural and sustainability indicators, while national indicators for farmland species are used by the European Union to assess the health and sustainability of agricultural habitats.
Since 2013, BirdLife Cyprus volunteers and visiting birdwatchers have also been involved in another pan-European effort: the New European Breeding Bird Atlas. In one of the most ambitious biodiversity mapping projects ever attempted, the new European Breeding Bird Atlas will provide updated information on the distribution of more than 500 breeding bird species in more than 50 countries across the continent. Such information is vital, both at European and national levels, if we are to be successful in conserving biodiversity in the face of ongoing environmental change. This year, 2017, is the final year of the project, and the BirdLife Cyprus team will be working hard this breeding season to complete the altasing work and deliver to the New European Breeding Bird Atlas breeding distribution maps for all the breeding birds of Cyprus.
We wish all our volunteers a fruitful fieldwork season for spring and summer 2017!