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The new issue of Bird Census News is out!


The new issue of Bird Census News is out. Do not miss out to check the newest articles!

Bird Census News is the Journal of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC). It was first published in 1987. It gradually evolved from a typewritten photocopied leaflet to the present form. Rob Bijlsma (The Netherlands) has been editor from 1987-1992, Anny Anselin (Belgium) is editor since 1993.
The publication of the Journal has been possible by the financial support of SOVON, Beek-Ubbergen (1987-1992) and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels (1993-).

Bird Census News reports on the developments in census and atlas work in Europe, from the local to the continental scale, and provides a forum for discussion of methodological issues. A special section is dedicated to book reviews and these topics. And of course, you find in Bird Census News all information on the EBCC and its ongoing projects. The Journal is published two times a year: once in spring and once in autumn with about 40 pages per issue.

Bird Census News will surely interest you! It is meant as a forum for everybody involved in bird census, monitoring and atlas studies, from Iceland to Turkey and from Portugal to Russia and further. We invite you to use it for publishing news on your activities within this field.

Please read more info on BCN here.

Editor of BCN: Anny Anselin


The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds – EBBA1

Emberiza citrinella_Bělka za web

The first comprehensive EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds, or European Ornithological Atlas (EOA) edited by Ward Hagemeijer and Mike Blair, was published in 1997. The atlas is the first major initiative of the EBCC (itself created through the merging of the European Ornithological Atlas Committee and the IBCC), and integrates 25 years of effort by thousands of volunteer field ornithologists, data analysts and writers in more than 40 countries.



The cover of hardbound publication of EBBA1

The final product is an impressive and voluminous book with more than 900 pages of maps of distribution for 495 European bird species, accompanying text and information on the population size estimates for key countries where it is present. The area covered includes all of Europe, including Madeira, the Azores, Iceland, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Transcaucasia) although not Turkey or Cyprus. The atlas demonstrates what can be achieved through broadscale international cooperation and has been and remains an essential tool for scientists and conservationists interested in studying the patterns of distribution and abundance of Europe’s birds.






EBCC Atlas on the Web

EBBA1 is easily accessible to a wide audience, all distribution maps can now also be viewed through the internet. In this recent initiative, the original 50km x 50km basic spatial units in the atlas were converted to Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial references (e.g. latitude, longitude), in order to be able to display the species distribution maps on a website with different backgrounds as explained below.

wmsebcc (1)

A map from EBBA1 showing the breeding distribution of Barn Owl

Because meridians of longitude converge towards the poles the original 50km by 50km grid required modifications to allow ‘squares’ to drop out as their width declined to less than 40km towards the north. Dealing with these issues in the conversion to GIS was no trivial task and the EBCC is very grateful to SOVON and especially Henk Sierdsema for all his time on this. As in the book, the dots on the map refer to six different categories of information; red = semi-quantitatively confirmed or probable breeding, orange = semi-quantitatively possible breeding, dark purple = qualitatively confirmed or probably breeding, light purple = qualitatively possible breeding, grey = no survey work, no dot = square surveyed but species not recorded. Semi-quantitative (red and orange dots) means that population sizes, in numbers of breeding pairs, for the square have been estimated to the nearest order of magnitude, as indicated by the size of the dots on the map. Not all countries were able to provide this and hence the information is qualitative (all purple and grey dots are the same size). The interactive distribution atlas is currently hosted by SOVON Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology and can be accessed through the link.


Obtaining the atlas data

Associated with the atlas is the underlying database from which the distribution maps are derived. Over the past 10 years, the atlas data has been used by a wide variety of researchers and conservationists for purposes ranging from estimating hotspots of species occurrence to predicting the effects of climate change. Use of the data is administered via the EBCC Executive Committee and the data extraction and handling is currently done by staff at SOVON in the Netherlands or the BTO in the UK, according to agreed rules. There are countless possibilities for using this valuable dataset, and those interested could directly access the data set from GBIF using this link. We strongly encourage contacting the  EBCC Chair EBCC-chairman for further discussion or collaboration regarding the use and analyses of Atlas data.

Expected maps

Sylvia melanocephala neznami autor

The European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 (EBBA2) is now at its final stage: all the fieldwork data have been collected, and we are starting the process of the analysis and preparing the outputs for the publication.


The final results will be published in a book and will be also available on-line by 2020.


The EBBA2 attempts to generate maps for the whole of Europe to show information for the four scientific objectives of the project, which are


1) to document breeding evidence for all bird species at a resolution of 50×50 km

2) to estimate abundance for all bird species at a resolution of 50×50 km

3) to determine the changes in bird species distribution at a resolution of 50×50 km since the 1980s

4) to model fine-grained distribution for as many bird species as possible and project it at a resolution of 10×10 km

In order to visualise how we attempt to fulfil these four objectives we used old available data on species distribution at 50×50 km and expert knowledge to produce the first simulations of the EBBA2 maps.


The following four maps show these simulations for the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala).



Sardinian warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)

Expected map 1

The final map will present breeding evidence for each square. A modelling approach will be used to predict occurrence in non- or poorly surveyed squares.

first map SYMEL_BREEDING_600dpi

EBBA2 simulated map for the breeding likelihood of the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala).

The project will attempt to illustrate the predictions of statistical models in non-surveyed squares as well as observed data.


Expected map 2

The final map will present abundance estimates for each 50×50 km square. A modelling approach will be used to predict abundance in non- or poorly surveyed squares.

second map SYMEL_ABUND_600dpi

EBBA2 simulated abundance map for the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala).

The project will attempt to illustrate the predictions of statistical models in non-surveyed squares as well as observed data.



Expected map 3

The data provision at 50×50 km will also be the basis for a map showing the change in species distribution between the first European Breeding Bird Atlas and the new atlas

third map SYMEL_CHANGE_MAP_600dpi(stars)

EBBA2 simulated map for the change in the species distribution between the two European atlases for the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala).


Expected map 4

The final map will present the probability of occurrence at 10×10 km resolution.


EBBA2 simulated high resolution map (10×10 km) for the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala).




Field training in Serbia planned for 25-26 April, 2015

One of the most important tasks in our work for EBBA2 is a support of fieldwork in the countries where the number of fieldworkers is limited.

Apart from the training in Ukraine, which is going to take place on 16-19 April, 2015, there is another field training planned for the volunteers in Serbia. It will take place during the weekend on 25-26 April, 2015.

There are about 30 Serbians who are eager to learn atlas methods of data collection in the field. Most of the trainers will arrive from The Czech Society for Ornithology in Prague.

The training is organized in the collaboration with Dimitrije Radisic, EBBA2 national coordinator in Serbia.

EBCC board and EBBA2 steering comittee about to meet in Ukraine

The meeting of EBCC board and EBBA2 steering comittee will take place in Kiiv, in Ukraine between 16 and 19 April 2015.

Thursday 16 April and Friday 17 April will be allocated to the meetings. The meetings will be followed by training of Ukrainian fieldworkers during the weekend 18 and 19 April.

The aim of the training will be to give instructions about atlas work in the field to Ukrainian ornithologist who will then share their experience with the other fieldworkers working for EBBA2 in the other areas of Ukraine.


Links to data portals


The EuroBird Portal is a project of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) developed through a partnership that currently  comprises 29 institutions from 21 diferent European countries. In order to make best use of the data gathered by online portals across Europe, there is a need to establish and maintain a common database. Data sources are very scattered, and several portals have limited access or are available only in the native languages of their host countries. Given the diversity of initiatives and the well established nature of some of them, any attempt to favour only one of the systems or to create a new common one would be both undesirable and impractical. We therefore aim to create a common data repository that will hold data from each of the existing systems. This will contain the minimum aggregated information required to realise the full potential for large scale spatiotemporal analyses of such data and for other research and applied uses that are appropriately undertaken at a European scale.

The purpose of EBP is to establish a European data repository based on aggregated data from online bird recording portals from across Europe with the following major objectives:

  1. To describe large scale spatiotemporal patterns of bird distributions (seasonal distributional changes, migratory patterns, phenology) and their changes over time.
  2. To improve the value of online data gathering portals.

If you would like to contribute with your data from abroad, the following portals that are within the scope of EBP offer the possibility of entering the data from all across Europe in precise UTM squares along with appropriate Atlas breeding codes:

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BirdTrack is a project, through a partnership between the BTO, the RSPB, Birdwatch Ireland, the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club and the Welsh Ornithological Society, that looks at migration movements and distributions of birds throughout Britain and Ireland. BirdTrack provides facilities for observers to store and manage their own personal records as well as using these to support species conservation at local, regional, national and international scales.

You can enter your daily observations on a simple-to-use web page or via the free App for iPhone and Android devices. Complete lists of birds (all species seen and heard) are prefered because the proportion of lists with a given species provides a good measure of frequency of occurrence that can be used for population monitoring.







The ornitho portal was developed by Biolovision s.a.r.l. in collaboration with ornithological institutes in several European countries. They are used as platforms for collecting bird observations in the following countries (as to May 2015):







Spain: available for Catalonia: and Basque Country:

France: different portals, links see








The data of is public. wants to show the biodiversity of the world.’s goal is to cover all species groups. It uses universal species names and codes to share data with other organisations.To support the exchange of information allows the download of all species lists. is part of, an independent workgroup within the dutch stichting Natuurinformatie, by which continuation is assured.

National breeding bird atlases in Europe

Upupa epops_Bělka za web

This overview presents the information on national breeding bird atlases in European countries as obtained in initial stage of EBBA2 project. National atlases are included only, with exception of countries where atlases have been traditionally organised at regional level. On the other hand, some atlases can include more countries (e.g. UK and Ireland). The overview has been updated according to information available to EBBA2 coordination team and will be updated regularly. We will appreciate any additions or corrections.