Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Spring Alive in Europe…

Early birds already in Iberia

Europe’s first Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica – the messengers of spring – have been spotted in the south of Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, announcing the beginning of BirdLife’s Spring Alive program and heralding the arrival of the warmer weather to the northern hemisphere.

The first reports of the return of migrating birds in the south of Europe have been recorded by young birdwatchers in Portugal. They entered their observations on the http://www.springalive.net website, where people from around the continent are to share their very first spring bird sightings. BirdLife’s Spring Alive project, now in its second year, is aimed at getting children, teachers, parents and all interested birdwatchers to keep an eye out in their neighbourhood for the arrival of four indicator bird species: Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Barn Swallow, White Stork Ciconia ciconia and Common Swift Apus apus – and put them online so the rest of Europe can watch the arrival of spring. It’s always a momentous time of year when the migrating birds come back to Portugal, and continue north, bringing with them spring. And now children can join in the excitement of the season and join with other birdwatchers across Europe in recording where and when the birds appear. said Luis Costa, CEO of SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal).

This is just the beginning of the action. From now on, children in 30 countries around Europe will observe and record their first personal observation of four bird species, with a view to watching the progress of spring across Europe. A map on the website will show how the warm weather is progressing across the continent, and the birds are moving further north.

This project is very simple and can be great fun, but it also helps scientists to identify some changes occurring in the environment, said Joanna Kalinowska, European Spring Alive project coordinator. The bird sightings will also be analysed to find the ‘Arrival of Spring in Europe Week’ – the week when most people have seen their first birds.

This knowledge will help scientists and nature conservationists to find out about bird migrations in Europe. The more children and people around Europe who tell us about their observations, the more detailed the final results will be. said Ms Kalinowska.

The project will take place around Europe right up until the first day of summer. It can be really exciting to go outside in the spring, observe birds, and than tell the world that spring has arrived in your region, especially knowing that children from other countries do the same. finished Ms Kalinowska.

Visit the Spring Alive website at http://www.springalive.net and register your sighting today!

4th July 2014