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Forty-four thousand Red-breasted Goose counted in Bulgaria

Exciting news came from the IWC results in Bulgaria this January! The cold weather spell and snow storms have pushed the Redbreasts down to SE Europe and our partners from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds have reported 44 000 Redbreasts in Bulgaria! Some of the reports say that there might be a bit more than that in the area. Most of the geese this year were around Burgas lakes and namely Vaya Lake - a Ramsar site itself. Some 400 000 Greater Whitefronts have been counted in Bulgaria as well, which is well beyond the population figure for the Pontic-Anatolian flyway population of the species!
Almost 700 000 waterbirds altogether have been counted last weekend by experts and volunteers coordinated in 41 teams by BSPB and its partners in the count and covered over 200 wetlands.See more details at BSPB web site.
However the weather is making the life of Redbreasts and other waterbirds hard as temperatures below -20°C were experienced around 15th January. The harsh cold weather made Wetlands International and AEWA Secreatriat to call to member states and Parties to take precautionary measures to reduce the stress on distressed waterbirds, including temporary ban on hunting. Amongst those calls unfortunately we receive new of poaching activities and excessive hunting in Bulgaria. We hope the authorities will take notice of the call by Wetlands International and AEWA to ensure the protection of the waterbirds on the Balkans, especially when such large percent of the global population of the Red-breasted Goose has concentrated in the region!
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Mixed flock of Redbreasts in snowy Bulgaria - photo Ivaylo Dimchev
weather situation on the Balkans during IWC count -  www.severe-weather.eu
Redbreasts in winter fields of cereals in Bulgaria - photo Daniel Mitev
Exessive hunting practices in Bulgaria during harsh weather -  photo Todor Petkov
Redbreasts and Whitefronts landing in a snow blizzard in Bulgaria - photo N. Petkov