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This Week is the International Waterbirds Count Weekend!

The International Waterbird Census (IWC) has run since 1967 and today covers over 25,000 sites in more than 100 countries coordinated internationally by Wetlands International. In each country national coordinators work with a network of professional and amateur counters to provide waterbird counts to the IWC. In total, more than 15,000 people submit their data annually, making this one of the largest global monitoring schemes largely based on citizen science.

There are 4 separate regional schemes of the IWC that represent the major flyways of the world.  The census forms part of a wider range of waterbird monitoring programmes coordinated by the Waterbird Monitoring Partnership in the flyway. It supports the implementation of international treaties aiming to sustain waterbird populations. These include the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), the Convention on European Wildlife and Habitats and the Birds Directive of the European Union.

The IWC weekend is also part of the International coordinated monitoring of the Red-breasted Goose and we hope that there will be good coverage within the range countries to help to reveal the actual distribution and status. This winter brought a lot of surprises and changes – couple of thousands of Redbreasts reached Hungary while in NW Black Sea area there were very few, there were Redbreasts in Kalmykia in November so the flocks had stretched over thousands of kilometers from East to West.

This IWC weekend will also focus on the flyway populations of Bewick’s Swan which also shows changes in its distribution with declining numbers in Western Europe and some increase in wintering numbers in SE Europe which is out of the traditional flyway boundaries of the species. More about this count you can find form Dr. Eileen Reese (WWT).

We encourage all our followers and supporters to take part in the counts and support them to ensure the best possible coverage and information this coming weekend (17-18 January)=

The IWC coordinator at Wetlands International is Dr. Taej Mundkur whom you can contact for more information.

Geese count in Bulgaria © Baz Highes/WWT
Cold weather and snow storms have driven the Redbreasts further south - © Nicky Petkov/BSPB
Redbreasts on snow - © Viktor Vasilev
© Nicky Petkov/BSPB