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Continent`s biggest birdwatch takes placeā€¦

Thousands of Europeans from 30 countries will unite in their love of birds this weekend when they go to observe the best of the continent`s bird life in European Birdwatch 2003. Organised by L?tzebuerger Natur- a Vulleschutzliga (LNVL) BirdLife International`s Partner in Luxembourg, and taking place on 4-5th October, the event is the biggest of its kind in Europe. Last year some 55,000 people across Europe simultaneously went out to spot the best, or rarest, of their bird life. In total, more than three million birds were seen. This year, adults and children from Portugal in the west to Azerbaijan in the east and Iceland in the north to Greece and Turkey in the south will be trying to sight as many of Europe`s resident and migratory species as possible. [Participating countries with their respective BirdLife Partner are: Andorra (AND), Austria (BirdLife Austria), Belarus (APB), Bulgaria (BDZP), Czech Republic (CSO), Estonia (EOU), Finland (BirdLife Suomi), France (LPO), Germany (NABU), Gibraltar (GONHS), Greece (EOE), Hungary (MME), Iceland (Fuglaverndarfelag Islands), Italy (LIPU), Latvia (LOB), Lithuania (LOD), Luxembourg (LNVL), Netherlands (VBN), Norway (NOF), Poland (OTOP), Portugal (SPEA), Romania (SOR), Slovakia (SOVS), Slovenia (DOPPS), Spain (SEO), Sweden (SOF), Switzerland (SVS/ASPO), Ukraine (UTOP). Azerbaijan and Turkey are also participating through AOS and DD respectively.] Birdwatching events will be held across the breath-taking diversity of European habitats: from Mediterranean scrubland to the wetlands of the Danube, and from the mountain terrain of the Alps to the bogs of the Baltic nations.Birdwatchers will aim to spot the continent`s two rarest birds, Zino`s Petrel Pterodroma Madeira which is only found on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and numbers fewer than 100 individuals and the migratory Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris, which has dwindled to as few as 50 individuals. The bird has had no confirmed sightings this Millennium in Europe. Both species are classified as Critically Endangered under the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List criteria. In Spain alone, there will be 80 bird-themed events over the weekend, including guided birdwatching outings, lectures, information shows and even marathons. Switzerland has over 50 guided birdwatching trips on offer. Tiny Andorra and Gibraltar, both with populations equivalent to a small town, are also holding birdwatching events. Slovenia aims to make city dwellers aware of the country`s bird life and has organised birdwatching in three cities.In Luxembourg, guided groups will visit four sites where the country`s rarest and only globally-threatened bird, the Vulnerable Corncrake Crex crex will be one of the species that birdwatchers will aim to see. Excursions will take place in the south at Garniecherbierg, where there are the best views, in the north at Wincrange, around of lots of mud-flats and small lakes and in the east at Junglinster. Near the centre of the capital, at Syre, there will be bird-ringing in a reed bed, accessible via a nature walk. There is a special programme for children with different games and birdwatching. European Birdwatch is a spectacularly successful event which encourages people, especially children to get out and really observe the beauty that is around them and to appreciate it, says Birgit G?dert-Jacoby, Information Officer at LNVL. In Luxembourg we are hoping to attract hundreds of people especially those who would not normally think of going birdwatching as a pastime, and I hope the occasion will build awareness of our birds as well as being great fun.

For further information or to participate, contact Birgit G?dert-Jacoby at LNVL, Luxembourg: tel.+352 2904 04 312; secretary@luxnatur.lu or Gareth Gardiner-Jones at BirdLife International in Cambridge, UK: tel. +44 (0)1223 279903; 07779 018 332 (mobile); gareth.gardiner@birdlife.org.uk

4th July 2014