EBBA2 final data collection – where we are at the end of February

Belka Vlastovka

Barn Swallow (photo by T. Bělka)

The end of 2017 marked not only the last fieldwork season, but also a deadline that the EBBA2 coordination team has set in order to receive all national datasets within EBBA2 scope. There are two types of datasets that national coordinators report, with the one on 10x10km scale being more urgent as processing of it will require a longer time period. In this article we provide an overview of how far we have managed to go until mid-February with the available datasets.

 

After five years of data collection in the field, the time has come to finally gather all of the hard work of numerous voluneers in the field and national coordinators, and to create an unique dataset of breeding bird occurence for the whole of Europe. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, we had to set realistic deadlines for national coordinators to assemble the data for their own country. Obviously, the task is an on-going process of not just submitting the data, but also checking and correcting mistakes in species distribution ranges together with national coordinators, who are best placed to assess the situation in their country.

EBBA2 coordinators Marc Anton and Sergi Herrando in ICO, Barcelona, working hard on thousands and thousands of data rows

EBBA2 coordinators Marc Anton and Sergi Herrando in ICO, Barcelona, working hard on thousands and thousands of data rows

 

The more urgent dataset that we required were timed surveys that were done in a 10×10 km squares. These data will be used to model the probability of occurrence of a certain species. Due to large discrepancies of the availability of these types of survey across European countries (Western countries often having bigger densities of timed surveys than Eastern countries), not all data received would be used for modelling. The Spatial Modelling Group therefore developed a protocol that will be applied to the available dataset and that will choose the data that will further go into the modelling procedure.

Current dataset of selected and available timed surveys for modelling purposes (map provided by S. Herrando)

Current dataset of selected and available timed surveys for modelling purposes (map provided by S. Herrando)

 

The second issue with the timed surveys is that for calculating the models, a substantial amount of time will be needed. Since this is a time demanding process, the sooner EBBA2 coordination team receives all the data, the sooner we can start working on creating the models. At the picture below, you can see how a model map of probability of occurrence of Sardinian Warbler looks like based on the pilot data.

Modelled map for Sardinian Warbler

Modelled map for Sardinian Warbler

 

The data that we required a month later, by the end of January, were data on occurence of species in a particular 50×50 km sqaure along with their atlas codes and abundance. Due to the fact that abundance assessments can be hard to do on this scale, national coordinators were provided with some basic instructions on how to go about it, and coordination team was open to discuss these issues with them at any time. In particular, the final date on providing the abundance estimates was set at the end of June, by which time the occurrence data of each species will be provided and checked. During this process of data provision and checking, the national coordinators will be able to visualise their data on maps and consolidate information with neighbouring countries within their shared mapping squares. Some countries have still not been able to compile their final datasets, but as we write, all of them are working hard on the issue, and we can present here an example of Barn Swallow occurrence map from the data that we have currently available.

Current available dataset for the distribution of Barn Swallow (map provided by M. Franch)

Current available dataset for the distribution of Barn Swallow (map provided by M. Franch)

 

This first map of Barn Swallow which was produced from final datasets, looks very promising and indicates the scope and quantity of the data that were gathered for EBBA2. It truly is a seminal piece of work that will enable us to produce up-to date distribution maps for all breeding birds in Europe and to compare where exactly this has changed over the last 30 years.

We would like to thank to all the people that already provided the data, and that are still working on their final datasets!

 

Marti Franch and Marina Kipson, 1.3.2018