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European Birdwatch hits new heights

A record number of birds on their autumn migration were observed during European Birdwatch, which took place across the continent last weekend. European Birdwatch is organised by BirdLife and takes place annually during a weekend in October as part of the global World Bird Festival. This year almost 1,000 European Birdwatch events were held in 30 countries. During the two days, more than 17,000 participants observed a staggering 3.3 million birds ? a record for the last three years and a remarkable illustration of Europe`s abundant birdlife.

Spectacular bird migrations were observed in many countries. Switzerland and Lithuania recorded intensive migrations of Wood Pigeons; Bulgaria has identified key sites for thousands of migrating raptors, storks and pelicans; and nearly 20,000 Cranes were observed along the coasts of the Baltic States.

For the second year running Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs and Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris were the most frequently observed species continent-wide.

* Country with largest number of events: Hungary, where 146 events were organised
* Country with most participants: Switzerland, where 4,922 participants were involved
* Country with largest number of birds seen: Sweden, where 957,520 birds were observed
* Country with the most diverse birdlist: again Sweden, where 237 species were observed

Although the weekend was a fun event, aiming to make birds accessible to people right across the continent, it also emphasises the need to protect a network of Special Protected Areas and Important Bird Areas in Europe.

4th July 2014