How many Nightingales are there in Germany?
The Atlas of German Breeding Birds – ADEBAR
Dear friends, fellow ornithologists and other readers,
Background and the Pilot Study
How many Nightingales are there in Germany? Not even if all our ornithological experts worked together could they answer this question at present, nor many other similar questions on German avifauna. The necessary information for the whole of the country is simply not available, in part a legacy of our long-divided nation. If we indeed knew how many Nightingales there are (an estimated 100,000) would we be better off? The clear and unambiguous answer is yes! Only after population numbers are precisely documented can we be sure which species are common and which are rare. This will then enable us to implement protection measures for those species whose populations are demonstrably experiencing a long-term decline.
There could be no better time than the present for a census of all German breeding birds. Over 1,500 volunteers are poised to record the populations of all breeding bird species in Germany, over a 4-year period, from the Danish to the Swiss borders and from France to Poland. This project is to culminate in a standard federal work that will present the distribution of some 250 breeding bird species in a comprehensive atlas for the first time.
The atlas project is christened ADEBAR, the folk name for the White Stork, and an acronym in German for the ATLAS DEUTSCHE BRUTVOGELARTEN (Atlas of German Breeding Bird Species).
The coloured maps will contain a lot of important information:
* The will show clearly which species occur in which areas and concentrations and gaps will become apparent.
* The number of birds per square will show the federal-wide exceptional areas and their importance for bird protection.
* Newly occupied areas and declining population trends will become apparent.
* The reasons for long-term population changes can be researched specifically based on the atlas information.
It will also be possible to predict future population development more accurately; for example, the consequences of climate change.
The most important results of the project will be the provision of arguments in favour of nature protection, which have been lacking for far too long, thus enabling the formulation and implementation of a long-term strategy.
We are very grateful for the support of the Heinz Sielmann Foundation http://www.sielmann-stiftung.de. Without its financial assistance the preparatory work on the atlas in the form of a pilot study would not be possible. This pre-study will contain the initial exemplary distribution maps and texts for twelve German breeding species. The overall coordination for the project lies with the German Bird Monitoring Foundation and the progress of the atlas can be followed on the website at http://www.vogelmonitoring.de. The pilot project was also published in booklet form in autumn 2004.
A year has past – an interim report
When the German Bird Monitoring Foundation and the Federation of German Avifaunists (Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten e.V. - DDA) launched the ADEBAR project in 2004, professional and amateur ornithologists were faced with a task of gigantic proportions. Many sceptics forecast a difficult birth and almost impassable hurdles, not least because the lion’s share of the mapping and coordination tasks had to be shouldered by volunteers. The sceptics were wrong – as the brochure containing the results of the first year’s work so impressively demonstrates.
Following on from the mini or pilot atlas “Breeding Birds in Germany”, which appeared at Christmas 2004 to mark the start of mapping for ADEBAR, the German Bird Monitoring Foundation published a working report on the results of mapping in 2005 at the end of March. ADEBAR is not only the largest mapping project undertaken in Germany, it has kindled enthusiasm among fields ornithologists well beyond all expectations with some 2000 professional and hobby ornithologists now involved in the field work! In the new report, all 16 federal states present their results in a double page spread. In addition, the reasons behind the generous financial support given by the Heinz Sielmann Foundation are explained and all those involved with the mapping project are mentioned by name. All 52 pages of the report, in 320 x 320 format, are in colour and the report is sent free of charge to all those taking part. More (in German) at http://www.vogelmonitoring.de.
It can proudly be stated that the atlas project lies well ahead of plan with complete records of breeding birds in more than 50 % of the state designated mapping areas. For 2006, mappers for more areas have been nominated and coverage is confidently expected to increase throughout 2006 and 2007. This measure of success is above all a result of whole-hearted commitment by state coordinators; the pilot study, financed by the Heinz Sielmann Foundation also played a demonstrably motivating role. In May 2005, all mappers were issued with the “Handbook of Standard Method for Recording Breeding Birds”, later supplemented by a birdsong CD. In October 2005, all atlas coordinators met to report on and evaluate first results. It was agreed to issue all mappers with this First Interim Report, which also contains a section giving comprehensive tips and advice on monitoring of common, uncommon, and rare species with graphic examples of methods for differing habitats.
An important next step will be the continuing cooperation with the DDA, and the integration of their “Monitoring of Common Breeding Birds in the Normal Countryside” as a first important step.
Finally, we appeal for financial support for the rest of the project. No sum is too small.
Thank you for your interest.
Dr. Kai Gedeon, Alexander Mitschke and Dr. Christoph Sudfeldt
on behalf of the Stiftung Vogelmonitoring Deutschland
Created: 28th May 2006