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Verena Keller, chair of the EBBA2 Atlas Steering Committee, receives a prestigious international award

Verena Keller of the Swiss Ornithological Institute (SOI) in Sempach has been awarded the Marsh Award for International Ornithology by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Verena works in the Monitoring Department at SOI and is a board member of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC). She has been a formidable force, leading the work on EBCC’s European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2) project for the last 10 years. She is Chair of the Atlas Steering Committee and has done a fantastic job steering this enormous, critically important project to planned publication in December 2020. Through her personal and professional contacts mainly in Switzerland, she has also secured much of the financial investment needed for the project.

Verena’s key interest, aside from atlasing, is waterbird monitoring. As a Swiss delegate for Wetlands International and a member of the steering group of the African-Eurasian Monitoring Partnership, she contributed to securing the International Waterbird Census. In her senior science role at SOI, she has continued to publish widely on waterbird monitoring in Europe. Verena has also coordinated the development of concepts for priority setting for bird conservation in Switzerland, with a focus on the international responsibility of the country. Researchgate lists 90 publications that she has authored/co-authored.

Dawn Balmer, nominating Verena for the award, said “As EBBA2 National Coordinator for the UK, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with Verena over the last eight years to bring together bird data from across the UK to contribute to this hugely important publication, which will be used by birdwatchers, conservationists and policy makers across Europe. Verena, working with coordination teams in Barcelona and Prague has ensured excellent fieldwork coverage across Europe, timely submission of data and the unenviable task of coordinating species experts  across Europe to deliver 556 species accounts. Verena has chaired the Atlas Steering Committee, overseeing all aspects of this monumental project with efficiency and good humour, she is a very worthy recipient of this award.”

Verena Keller, said, “I would like to thank BTO and the Marsh Christian Trust for this generous award. It is an honour for me to receive it and I also see it as recognition of the work of the European Bird Census Council and its network of partners across Europe.

The Marsh Award for International Ornithology is awarded to an individual scientist whose work on the international stage has had a significant influence on British ornithology, especially as reflected in the work of BTO scientists and volunteers.

Verena Keller has never missed an opportunity for birdwatching after intensive EBCC meetings. Watching Northern hawk-owl after the meeting of the EBCC Board in Finland.

The Marsh Award for International Ornithology is awarded to an individual scientist whose work on the international stage has had significant influence on British ornithology, especially as reflected in the work of BTO scientists and volunteers.

The Marsh Christian Trust was founded in 1981 by its current Chairman, Mr Brian Marsh OBE. From the outset the Trust has aimed to create long-standing relationships with the organisations it supports and partners through both its principle areas of work; the Grants Programme and the Awards Scheme. The Trust supports around 350 charities every year through the Grants Programme and gives around 80 different Awards to individuals and groups from across the charity sector, who make a difference to a cause that they believe in.
BTO is the UK’s leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO’s surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO’s work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

Pre-publication offer of the European Breeding Bird Atlas

We are pleased to announce that the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2, the biggest citizen science biodiversity mapping project in Europe, is getting to its final phase. The outputs of the project represent the results of the effort of 120,000 fieldworkers and 48 national partners. The five years of  fieldwork covered 5,110 50-km squares (11,075,000 km2, i. e. 7% of emerged land on Earth).

The book European Breeding Bird Atlas 2: Distribution, Abundance and Change will present:

  • 556 full species accounts,

  • 69 species treated in the appendix,

  • 689 50-km maps showing abundance or breeding evidence,

  • 222 10-km modelled maps,

  • 446 change maps,

  • 556 illustrations of species by 46 artists,

  • the species texts written by 348 authors.

The book will be published by the Lynx Edicions and will be launched on December 3, 2020, in Barcelona. Due to the pandemic we will organise an on-line launch event, details will be announced later.

We are also happy to announce that Lynx Edicions has now opened the sale of the book. Thanks to the financial input from the project it has been possible to fix a very attractive price.  The pre-publication price of 70 Euro (plus shipping costs) is valid until 30 November 2020.  Later on, the price will be 90 Euro.


 The EBBA2 book can now be ordered from the Lynx Edicions website.


After ten years of the effort, we are getting close to the final product. We believe it will be used for further research and conservation at least at a similar scale as the first atlas was. Many thanks to everybody who made it possible to happen!


The Ortolan Bunting on the title page of the EBBA2 was painted by Szabolcs Kókay.

News from the European Breeding Bird Atlas

Ten years ago the EBCC Board agreed to publish the second European Breeding Bird Atlas by the end of 2020. Everything suggests that this deadline will be achieved. All materials were delivered to the Lynx Edicions, proofs are expected during forthcoming summer months. The title page has been finalised, and promotion will start soon via the web pages of the publisher.

The Ortolan bunting for the EBBA2 cover was painted by Szábolcs Kókay

The coordination team has been busy with communication issues and preparation of the final launch of the book. Due to the uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic we plan the book to be launched at a vernissage with a small number of participants. However, on-line streaming and participation is anticipated. A bigger celebration of the end of the project, including the on-line version, is postponed to the EBCC conference in Spring 2022.

In the meantime, we will provide information material to the national atlas coordinators to help them to promote the book in their countries. The coordination team and Lynx Edicions will do their best to promote the book, but it is essential that the book is promoted also by the national coordinators and EBCC national delegates. Species sponsorship scheme is still open. Last minute donations will help us to make the retail price lower and therefore the book accessible also in economically less wealthy countries.

Please note: Acknowledgements of Super Sponsors (minimum 5000 Euro) in the book will be possible only until the end of August 2020.