Annual Report 2019

Panurus biarmicus (photo by Niklaus Zbinden)

Panurus biarmicus (photo by Niklaus Zbinden)

The date for publication of the EBBA2 book was set to end of 2020 right at the beginning of the project. Discussions with Lynx Edicions started already some years ago and in summer 2019 the agreement between this experienced publisher and EBCC was signed. EBBA2 work in 2019 therefore focused on getting everything ready for publication.

At the beginning of 2019 data for the 50-km maps from all countries had been uploaded to the database and were accessible to national coordinators and specialists for checking. However, data checking continued until late autumn. Several countries updated abundance information in particular, and the coordination team at the Catalan Ornithological Institute (ICO) in Barcelona invested a lot of time supporting this process. In December the database was finally closed and the production of the maps in the final layout started.

For the modelled maps at 10-km resolution the year started with the evaluation of the models by experts from the Spatial Modelling Group (SMOG) and the Atlas Steering Committee. Based on the feedback further trials were carried out to improve the models and it was decided to run the final models with updated climate and land-use predictors that matched the time period of EBBA2 more closely. The final models were prepared at the Swiss Ornithological Institute (SOI) available at the end of the year and the preparation of the maps in the final layout started.

EBBA2 will not only present the current distribution and abundance of breeding birds but also change in distribution since the first atlas, published in 1997. Developing ways how best to present change in maps and quantify the magnitude of change was a challenging task taking into account differences in the amount and quality of data between the two atlases. With all maps available writing of the 556 species accounts started in February. A team of 348 authors contributed texts, coordinated by members of the Atlas Steering Committee, the EBCC board and the EBBA2 coordination team. Like the illustrations for the species accounts provided by artists for free, authors and account editors contributed on a voluntary basis. Adding these contributions up results in a large amount of in-kind funding, for which the EBBA2 team is very grateful.

The EBCC Conference Bird Numbers in Évora, Portugal, provided the platform for presenting first results and a selection of maps to the wider EBCC audience and updating national coordinators on progress. The network of cooperating organisations and individuals across Europe was also informed about EBBA2 activities via emails and EBCC Newsletters.
Promotion of EBBA2 included an article in the German magazine Der Falke and activities by national coordinators through their own websites. Updates were also provided at the EBBA2 web site.

The research paper on use of data from EBBA1 and perspectives of using EBBA2 data for further research and conservation was published in Bird Study.
Herrando, S., Keller, V., Bauer, H.-G., Brotons, L., Eaton, M., Kalyakin, M., Voltzit, O., Lehikoinen, A., Milanesi, P., Noble, D., Ramírez, I., Voříšek, P. & Foppen, R. (2019). Using the first European Breeding Bird Atlas for science and perspectives for the new Atlas. Bird Study 66: 149–158.

Following up on a workshop with scientists regarding further research based on EBBA2 data discussions continued and first ideas for analyses were integrated in research proposals. Despite the important in-kind contributions from the EBCC network, funding is still necessary to finish the project. Following on the large contribution for the fieldwork period, the MAVA Foundation provided a new grant for the final phase of the project, including the preparation of an online version to be published at the end of 2021.

The Species Sponsorship was promoted through a special Christmas campaign and advertised not just through the EBBA2 website and social media (Facebook, Twitter ) but also by national partners. Since the launch of the scheme, 335 species have found at least one sponsor. Some EBBA2 artists also supported the project by providing part of their revenue from selling the original paintings to the EBBA2 project. The EBBA2 team supported the sales by providing a platform on the website and promoting it via Facebook and Twitter. The team at the Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO) coordinated these activities and the exchange of information within the EBBA2 network.

The work of the coordination team was overseen by the Atlas Steering Committee, which met before the EBCC conference in Évora in spring and in Sempach in November, combined with meetings of the EBCC board.

With the addition of authors of species texts the number of persons contributing to EBBA2 has grown again. We thank all of them for their contributions. Our thanks therefore also go to our donors. A lot remains to do in the final phase of the project, and we look forward to the publication of the book planned for the end of 2020.

Sempach, 23 January 2020
Verena Keller
Chair of the Atlas Steering Committee