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The Migration Study Group - Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Hello birdwatchers and migration enthusiasts,


We hereby want to remind you of several vacant volunteering positions in the Batumi Raptor Count , between Sept 15th and October 16th 2011. BRC is looking for motivated volunteers to monitor migration of soaring raptors at Batumi, Georgia. In this period the majority of migration will consist of Steppe buzzards, Black kites, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser spotted eagles but upto 25 other species including Greater spotted, Steppe and Imperial Eagle, Pallid harrier, etc.


You stay with the rest of our volunteering team in a homestay in a small village right next to one of our observatories. We arrange for accommodation, dinner and local transportation. In return we only ask for a small contribution of 5 euro per day covering part of these costs.


To get some idea about the local atmosphere in the count please visit our online photoalbums from previous editions or this nice compilation video. Youtube also hosts a nice video of intense Honey-buzzard migration at Batumi in autumn 2009.


Interested to participate? You can find all necessary information on the BRC website – Count in 2011 webpage. Also find the preliminary schedule of BRC volunteers and the application form on this page!


BRC has successfully monitored raptor migration at the eastern Black Sea for 3 years and is ready for the 2011 start on August 17th! Over 120 volunteers from over 12 countries experienced this project as a rewarding opportunity to learn more about the bird migration that fascinates them in an international team of amateurs, experts and students.


We look forward to having you on board of our 2011 team!


BRC 2011

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
Vignobles de Bellet - Monday, March 21st, 2011

New French record for Short-toed Eagle

On 20 March, a new day record for Short-toed Eagle was set in the vineyards of Bellet near Nice. No less than 923 Short-toed Eagles were counted after a period of heavy rain in Spain and southern France.

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

SIGN THE PETITION — Chaffinches : not on my plate !

In November, more and more people enjoy the birds that visit their gardens. Many of us get immense pleasure and satisfaction from watching Robins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, … as they visit our bird feeders and bird tables.

Sadly, that time of the year, poachers attract the very same birds with sunflowers near their houses in the south of the Landes, with the sole purpose to trap and kill them. Roasted garden birds end up on skewers or in various highly local culinary specialties.  

These birds are easily caught as the last autumn migrants often arrive exhausted after a journey of hundreds or thousands of miles.  

In France, all these species are protected by Law. Capture, destruction, transportation, possession, sale and purchase are strictly prohibited.  

Any person who contravenes these regulations is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of 15 000 € or punishable by imprisonment for one year.

The public authorities, however, do not take action to stop this cruel tradition from past centuries.

Therefore, we demand :
- a state under the rule of law, both in the Landes and elsewhere
- the effective application and full respect of current legislation, crucial to the conservation of these species.  

Sign the petition here: Chaffinches: not on my plate !

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Monday, September 13th, 2010

Rare birds in France

A new website is dedicated to rare birds in France:

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Friday, September 10th, 2010

Bee-eater time and a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at roc de Conilhac

This is Bee-eater time in southern France. The main watchpoints for the species are roc de Conilhac / Gruissan-Narbonne (5605 inds.), fort de la Revère (2396 inds.) and the valley of la Cerdagne-Eyne (2173 inds.). 9 September was a topday with 985 individuals over roc de Conilhac. The unusual observation of a flock of Bee-eaters in Lorraine is also worth mentioning: 38 inds. at colline de Sion, Meurthe-et-Moselle on 5 September. 

Bee-eaters often soar on migration. Small birds such as Bee-eaters should not soar but they do... and consume as little energy as when they are perched. 

A Blue-cheeked Bee-eater was seen on 8 September at roc de Conilhac. This is a new species for and a rarity compared to 88,242 Bee-eaters since the start of the French migration counts. If its identification is accepted by the French Rarities Committee (CHN) then it would be the 8th record for France. The subspecies of the birds observed in France remains unknown (chrysocercus  and/or nominate subspecies).


Source : Marek Szczepanek - Wikipédia / posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
Pointe de Grave - Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Dear friend,

I am writing to you on behalf of Miguel Ferrer on the occasion of a new

Juanjo Negro, member of the Organizing Committee of the Conference "Bird
Migration and Global Change" is currently in charge of an International
Course about Climate Change that Doñana Biological Station organizes and is
going to be held in Spain in September 2010.

It is focused to students at the PhD and Master/advanced Diploma levels. If
you are interested or you know someone who might be, please forward this

Please find below the information about the course.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation and best regards,

Virginia González-Alorda Iriarte
Secretaria de D. Miguel Ferrer - Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)
Avd. Américo Vespucio, s/n (Isla de la Cartuja) -  41092 Sevilla (España)
Tlf.:  + 34 954 466 700 /  954 232 340    Fax: 954 621 125


The Estación Biológica de Doñana (Sevilla, Spain) invites applications for
an international course entitled 'Ecological Consequences of Climate
Changes: Integrating Research Approaches' that will take place from 20
September to 1 October 2010 in the heart of the Doñana National Park. The
course is dedicated to students at the PhD and Master/advanced Diploma
levels who are involved in global change related research. Its aim is to
provide a synthetic overview upon different research perspectives ranging
from palaeoecology to population genetics, ecophysiology and bioclimatic
modelling. The course will include lectures provided by an international
panel of high-profile researchers, exercises using data of the Doñana
environmental monitoring programme (, as well as
field trips within the National Park.

Invited teachers:

Miguel Araújo, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain
Gary Bortolotti, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
José S. Carrión, Universidad de Murcia, Spain
Miguel Ferrer, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Sevilla, Spain
Clive Finlayson, Gibraltar Museum, Gibraltar, UK
Arndt Hampe, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Sevilla, Spain
Josep Peñuelas, Centre de Recèrca Ecologica i Aplicacions Forestals,
Barcelona, Spain
Fernando Valladares, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Madrid, Spain
Katherine Willis, University of Oxford, UK

Local organizers: Juan José Negro and Arndt Hampe

The course language will be English. Support from the Gas Natural Chair
'Biodiversity Conservation under Climate Change' enables us to waive
registration fees and to cover all costs for the transport between Sevilla
and Doñana National Park, accommodation and meals during the course.
Applicants should provide a brief CV (max. two pages) as well as a statement
(max. 500 words) about your research interests/current projects and why you
would like to attend to the course. Application deadline is 15 June. Please
send your application in a single pdf file to Begoña Arrizabalaga
( and any related questions to Juan José Negro

posted by Laurent Couzi, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Friday, May 7th, 2010


8-9 MAY 2010 World Migratory Bird Day focuses on globally threatened migratory birds

On 8-9 May 2010 thousands of people around the world will be attending World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events which will celebrate bird migration and highlight migratory birds in crisis. 

Events to mark World Migratory Bird Day will include bird festivals, educational programmes, presentations and birdwatching trips organised by hundreds of dedicated groups and organisations around the world. An international photo competition – The World's Rarest Bird Photo Competition is also linked to WMBD this year and is focusing on the world's most threatened birds.

“Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” - is this year's central WMBD theme and aims to raise awareness about globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those birds on the very edge of extinction - the Critically Endangered.

"The threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on Earth", says Bert Lenten - Executive Secretary of the UN Environment Programme’s African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement

(AEWA) and initiator of the World Migratory Bird Day campaign.  "By focusing on migratory birds in crisis during the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day 2010 is highlighting the role played by birds as indicators, enabling us to see the negative effects our current way of life is having on the planet and its biodiversity", added Mr Lenten.

As one of the best researched taxa, birds serve as vital indicators for the state of biodiversity and the biological health of the ecosystems they inhabit.

If a bird species becomes threatened with extinction it is often a clear sign that the conditions of the required habitats have changed and that other species dependent on them may also be affected.

A staggering 1,227 or 12.4% of the total 9,865 extant bird species in the world are currently classified as globally threatened and 192 of these are considered Critically Endangered.

An estimated 19% of all known birds are considered to be migratory, of which 11% are Globally Threatened or Near Threatened and 31 are classified as Critically Endangered according to BirdLife International on behalf of the IUCN Red List. 

"World Migratory Bird Day is an opportunity to draw international attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year. The focus on the most threatened migratory birds in 2010 acts as yet another reminder to governments that more needs to be done internationally to conserve these species across their migratory ranges", says Elizabeth Maruma Mrema - Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), a UNEP administered wildlife treaty.

Critically Endangered bird species are found throughout the world in all countries and territories, with most countries supporting at least one species with this highest risk category assigned by the IUCN.

“International collaboration is the only way to conserve migratory birds as they pass along their flyways”, said Dr Marco Lambertini – BirdLife’s Chief Executive. “That's why the BirdLife Partnership, with over 100 national organisations across the continents, can make a great difference in providing safer routes for migratory birds, as well as promoting the crucial inter-governmental co-ordinated efforts needed to address the growing threats along the flyways”.

Some prominent examples of “migratory birds in crisis” being highlighted in the context of this year’s WMBD campaign include the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris), the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), the Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) and the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) – all of which are migratory and listed as Critically Endangered.

These birds face a range of mainly human-driven threats, of which agriculture and invasive alien species are the most important. Hunting and trapping, logging, urbanization, pollution and fisheries are also significant threats, with climate change increasingly becoming a factor.

“It is time we listen properly to what the birds are telling us about the current state of our environment. Without immediate conservation action, there is a risk that the state of the world’s biodiversity will continue to get worse and that as a result some migratory bird species, including some that fall under international wildlife treaties such as AEWA might become extinct” says Mr Lenten. 

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. It is being organized by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement

(AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The WMBD 2010 campaign has also received support from the following partners: UNEP, The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), BirdLife International, Wetlands International, The Partnership for the East Asian - Australasian Flyway (EAAFP) and The World’s Rarest Project.

The WMBD campaign is made possible through part of the voluntary contribution given to the AEWA Secretariat by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

For more information please see the WMBD Partners page on

Events in over 40 countries

As of 6 May 2010 over 70 separate events in more than 40 countries have been registered on the campaign website.  WMBD events will be celebrated in: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon,  Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR (China), India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, ,Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.

For more information please see the WMBD Around the World page on

World’s Rarest Birds Photo Competition

World Migratory Bird Day 2010 has teamed up with this year's World's Rarest Bird Photo Competition covering the world's most threatened birds and has included an additional prize for the best photo of one of the 31 Critically Endangered birds that are migratory. Photos submitted to the international photo competition will be featured in a landmark publication – The World’s Rarest Birds – which will support international conservation efforts and help fundraise for BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Programme.  Contributors to the photo competition, whose images are published will receive a free copy of the book and also have a chance of winning a number of attractive prizes.

For more information please see the Photo Competition page on

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


In Europe and Africa, wild birds and their habitats are protected through the efforts of conservation organisations and governments that are spending millions of Euros to ensure their future.
These same birds migrate from Europe to Africa every autumn, travelling thousands of kilometres to spend the winter in warmer climates. Every spring, they migrate back to Europe to breed and replenish their numbers.
During each journey, the migratory birds are in peril as they fly over Malta, where they continue to be gunned down. Every year, protected species are killed; every spring and every autumn. Law enforcement is under resourced and unable to control the scale of illegal hunting.
There are nearly 15,000 hunters and bird trappers on the small island.
Whereas spring hunting is not permitted under the EU Birds Directive because this is the breeding season and a chance for birds to replenish their numbers, Malta has opened the spring hunting season every year since it joined the EU in 2004.
Over the last years, BirdLife Malta has been instrumental in ensuring that Malta strengthens its bird protection laws through its public and advocacy campaigns.
Spring hunting was not allowed in 2008 and 2009 thanks to an interim measure issued by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Last year, the ECJ found that Malta had been in breach of European law for allowing spring hunting (of turtle dove and quail) without meeting the conditions of derogation since it became a member state.
In spite of this, the Maltese government is still considering opening what it calls a “limited spring hunting season” in 2010. The government also continues to undermine the true scale and seriousness of illegal hunting.
BirdLife Malta, LPO (BirdLife France) and BirdLife International partnership are determined to ensure that the advances made are not reversed.
This is where you come in.
Unless we protect the migratory ‘flyways’ over the Mediterranean, conservation efforts in Europe and Africa are in vain. This is because170 bird species regularly migrate over Malta.  When they reach Malta, these birds are at their weakest. Many will try to rest on Malta and feed to build up their strength for the last leg of their journey. Instead, many meet their death.
Last September, volunteers from BirdLife Malta and another bird conservation group (CABS) found the remains of over 200 protected birds buried in a woodland used as hunting grounds
The remains included marsh harriers, honey-buzzards and night herons among other protected species. And this case is only one example that reflects the true scale of the illegal killing of protected birds in Malta. 
BirdLife Malta is a small organisation that is on the front line against the aggressive hunting lobby. Their staff and volunteers have suffered intimidation, criminal damage, arson attacks and violence. A BirdLife Ranger has been shot at and injured twice over the last two years.
BirdLife Malta does not give up and continues to work under very difficult circumstances – so we should also not give up and continue supporting our partner in Malta. 
To Dr Lawrence Gonzi,
Prime Minister of Malta
Mr Prime Minister,
Do not bring renewed shame on Malta!

We urge you not to harm EU nature conservation laws for a few votes from the hunting minority.

We urge you to comply with EU law through Maltese legislation.

We urge you to ensure all hunting legislation is fully enforced.

We urge you never to allow spring shooting or trapping of Turtle Dove and Quail again.

Photograph by Joe Zammit Lucia of a Night Heron shot in Malta


posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

EU seeks injunction to stop hunting of protected birds in Italy

The European Commission has called on the European Court of Justice to issue an injunction against Italy to prevent the hunting of protected bird species in the Lombardy region. Court action is already pending against a number of regions, including Lombardy, for the practice of allowing hunting derogations which do not comply with the strict conditions laid down in EU law. However, the Commission has decided to take urgent action after Lombardy passed new legislation which allows the hunting of four protected species until 31 December 2009.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said member sates had to follow the correct rules for the conservation of bird species to help prevent biodiversity loss.

"EU nature legislation allows for derogations for a limited number of reasons, although these exceptions are only possible when there is no alternative solution and strict conditions are met."

The European Commission said a number of regions have for many years adopted and continue to adopt legislation and derogations permitting the hunting of birds in breach of the Birds Directive. The regions concerned are: Abruzzo, Lazio, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Calabria, Apulia and Tuscany.

It said the Lombardy region recently passed new legislation which allows the hunting of four protected species - Chaffinch ( Fringilla coelebs), Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis) and Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes). The injunction was requested in order to stop that legislation.

The Commission said this was only the fourth time that such an injunction had been sought, with previous cases concerning a law permitting the spring hunting of birds in Malta in April 2008, the proposed construction of a road through the Rospuda river valley in Poland in March 2007,and hunting derogations in breach of the Birds Directive for the region of Liguria, Italy, in December 2006.


posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Monday, October 19th, 2009

October bird migration in France

October is usually an interesting month for bird migration. The most numerous species on between 1st and 18th October are Chaffinch (356 562 inds. - 33,8%) and Woodpigeon (238 446 inds. - 22,6%). Mind that important numbers of pigeons are not identifified at species level (no less than 11,2% of all migratory birds were unidentified pigeons - 117 782 inds.). Some interesting totals include 289 Balearic Shearwaters, 6641 Red Kites, 16437 Brent Geese and 33258 Cranes.  

Several rarities were reported at the various migration watchpoints: 1 Black Brant at Cap Gris-Nez (11/10), 1 Pallid Harrier at Fort de la Revère (16/10), 1 Long-legged Buzzard at Pagny-sur-Meuse (8/10), 1 Red-footed Falcon at Fort de la Revère (3/10), 1 Olive-backed Pipit at Carolles (15/10), 5 Richard's Pipits and 1 Rustic Bunting at Cap Ferret (13/10).

posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
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