The new Swiss Breeding Bird Atlas

Swiss landscape (By Simon Koopmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Swiss landscape (By Simon Koopmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Field work for the Swiss Breeding Bird Atlas 2013–2016, the biggest ornithological project so far in Switzerland, started in 2013 and ended in 2016. Although the weather was in three out of four breeding seasons not optimal at all, all data could be collected as planned. The whole perimeter including the mountainous and bordering areas was satisfyingly covered, with just a very few exceptions.

 

In many areas, the number of breeding bird species recorded is the same or even higher than the total for the previous, 1993–1996 atlas. The higher number of bird species found is mainly an effect of better coverage of each atlas square, more field ornithologists, easier data compiling and better knowledge of the potential habitats.

 

This success is also due to very motivated volunteers. Here are some figures: more the 2 million sightings on www.ornitho.ch that are valid for the atlas, 1510 observers with more than 100 sightings for the atlas, 2315 mapped square kilometres by 753 observers, 46438 kilometres walked during the mappings in the square kilometres and 745’428 mapped territories.

Hoopoe (photo by Marcel Burkhardt)

Hoopoe (photo by Marcel Burkhardt)

 

In total, we recorded 214 breeding species (including 6 escapes from captivity) of which 4 are new breeding species (Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus and Great White Egret Egretta alba in 2013, Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea in 2014 and Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides in 2015; there was also a probable breeding record of Little Egret Egretta garzetta in 2014) and – also very important – no accident during field work.

Arctic tern (photo by Marcel Burkhardt)

Arctic tern (photo by Marcel Burkhardt)

 

The further schedule is clear: the atlas will be published in November 2018. All data are now checked and analysed, then the texts are written and the layout of the book is fixed. The atlas will be published in German, French and Italian, respectively, whereas the webpage with all the atlas relevant information will be available also in English and published at the same time as the book.

6.4.2017, Peter Knaus, Swiss atlas coordinator