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BirdLife?s World Birdwatch

Europeans urged to head to the countryside

BirdLife International has issued an invitation to all European citizens to Take a closer look at the Countryside during the organisation’s annual EuroBirdwatch event.

The event comprises of hundreds of engaging activities organised by national BirdLife Partners all over Europe, which will be simultaneously held on the 1st and 2nd of October this year. Anyone can join the events to explore the magic and beauty of birds in the wild. During early October, there is still plenty of activity to be seen in the countryside. BirdLife Partners hope to provide an excellent opportunity to observe this in Europe’s farmland, fields and hedgerows.

Migratory birds can be seen making their phenomenal annual journeys: some leaving Europe for warmer climes such as Africa, whilst the first wildfowl will be arriving to spend the winter in Europe from their Siberian and Arctic breeding grounds. Many farmland birds will also be flocking together in huge numbers for the winter.In 1993, the first World Birdwatch was held to promote interest in and appreciation of nature through birding. The goal was to encourage as many people as possible to go bird watching over one weekend, and to record sightings of as many as possible of the world’s 10,000 bird species. Since then, World Birdwatch has become a regular event, taking place every two years. So far, more than 750,000 people have participated from all over the world. In 2001, BirdLife International organised the first World Bird Festival, which was repeated in 2004. The festival lasts a full month and features hundreds of exciting events all over the world, representing the largest ever celebration of birds. World Birdwatch and EuroBirdwatch herald the start of the festival in those years when it is held. Last year, almost 1,000 bird watching events were held in 30 countries in the EuroBirdwatch. BirdLife Partners hosted events for more than 30,000 participants during the two days, who observed a staggering 3.3 million birds – a record for the last three years and a remarkable illustration of the increasing popularity of the event and the importance of Europe's wild birds.

During 2004, spectacular bird migrations were observed in many countries: Switzerland and Lithuania recorded intensive migrations of Wood Pigeons; Bulgaria identified key sites for thousands of migrating raptors, storks and pelicans; and nearly 20,000 Common Cranes were observed along the coasts of the Baltic States.

This year, more than 30 national BirdLife Partners will be involved. The theme of the event is to Take a closer look at the countryside. Data collected from the event will be electronically recorded across the whole of the continent to provide a record of the sightings made in each country. A special website at: http://eurobirdwatch.birdlife.org has been setup with further information, links to national organisations and their events and useful information on getting started with bird watching. The 2005 EuroBirdwatch is being coordinated by Doga Dernegi (BirdLife in Turkey). Make space in your agenda to enjoy this special event and take a closer look at Europe’s countryside!

4th July 2014