Long-term and large-scale multispecies dataset tracking population changes of common European breeding birds

Bird surveyer. David Tipling

Author(s): Brlík, V., Šilarová, E., Škorpilová, J., Alonso, H., Anton, M., Aunins, A., Benkö, Z., Biver, G., Busch, M., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Coombes, D., de Carli, E., del Moral, J.C., Derouaux, A., Escandell, V., Eskildsen, D.P., Fontaine, B., Foppen, R.P.B., Gamero, A., Gregory, R.D., Harris, S., Herrando, S., Hristov, I., Husby, M., Ieronymidou, C., Jiquet, F., Kålås, J.A., Kamp, J., Kmecl, P., Kurlavičius, P., Lehikoinen, A., Lewis, L., Lindström, Å., Manolopoulos, A., Martí, D., Massimino, D., Moshøj, C., Nellis, R., Noble, D., Paquet, A., Paquet, J.-Y., Portolou, D., Ramírez, I., Redel, C., Reif, J., Ridzoň, J., Schmid, H., Seaman, B., Silva, L., Soldaat, L., Spasov, S., Staneva, A., Szép, T., Florenzano, G.T., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van der Meij, T., van Strien, A., van Turnhout, C., Vermeersch, G., Vermouzek, Z., Vikstrøm, T., Voříšek, P., Weiserbs, A. & Klvaňová, A.

Published: March 2021   Pages: 9pp

Journal: Scientific Data

Digital Identifier No. (DOI): 10.1038/s41597-021-00804-2

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Around fifteen thousand fieldworkers annually count breeding birds using standardized protocols in 28 European countries. The observations are collected by using country-specific and standardized protocols, validated, summarized and finally used for the production of continent-wide annual and long-term indices of population size changes of 170 species. Here, we present the database and provide a detailed summary of the methodology used for fieldwork and calculation of the relative population size change estimates. We also provide a brief overview of how the data are used in research, conservation and policy. We believe this unique database, based on decades of bird monitoring alongside the comprehensive summary of its methodology, will facilitate and encourage further use of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme results.


The authors are grateful to the many thousands of volunteer fieldworkers for their invaluable effort in the field collecting the long-term data used for European common bird indices and species trends. Without their endeavour, the essential continent-wide and detailed information on population changes of common bird species in Europe would not exist. Thanks also grateful to the numerous supporters of individual national monitoring schemes, including national authorities and decision-makers. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and EC grant “Towards new generation of Wild Birds Indicators” (grant no. 07.0202/2017/755630/SUB/ENV.D2) supported work on the manuscript.

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