Volume 33 - N. 2
December 2009

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Volume 33 - N. 2



  1. Wild birds as indicators in Europe: latest results fromthe Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme(PECBMS)

    Klvanová A., VoríšeK p., Gregory R. D., Van Strien A., Meyling A.G.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    46 108

    The main goal of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme is to produce policy-relevant indicators of the general
    state of biodiversity using scientifc data on changes in breeding populations of common birds across Europe. In the third set of European
    indices presented here, we summarise population trends of 124 widespread terrestrial species. Information was derived from annual national breeding bird surveys, spanning different periods, from 20 European countries. At a European scale, the 2007 update of indicators
    shows that common birds are in moderate decline, with populations having fallen by 14% over the last 25 years. Over the same time period, common farmland birds have crashed, falling by 44%. Agricultural intensifcation is thought to be the main driver of this decline. The
    trends of common forest birds, which have declined moderately by 9% in Europe, show marked regional differences. While on average
    populations have been stable in the west and east of Europe, they show considerable declines in the north, where forest birds are thought
    to be threatened by highly intensive forestry exploitation, and in the south, where possible threats are more uncertain. Further research is
    planned to improve our understanding of the species trends patterns and their drivers.

  2. Analysis and Summary of Christmas Bird Count Data

    Sauer J.R., Niven D.K., LinK W.A., Butcher G.S.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    41 402

    All large-scale surveys need to be better focused on environmental decision making, and statistical developments in recent
    years have aided this process through development of predictive models and by producing summaries of results to better inform us about
    the consequences of management (e.g., land use, pollution-abatement, etc.) decisions with regard to bird populations. We describe recently-developed analysis methods for the Christmas Bird Count, and explain how these approaches assist in summarizing the data and better
    integrating the survey into bird conservation activities. Hierarchical models, ft using Bayesian methods, provide estimates of population
    change that accommodate effort adjustments. Multispecies summaries of change can also be modeled hierarchically, resulting in state of
    the birds status summaries. Finally, integration of Christmas Bird Count data with North American Breeding Bird Survey data enhances
    the quality of estimation of change for North American birds.

  3. Developing a butterfly indicator to assess changes inEurope’s biodiversity

    Brereton T., Van Swaay C., Van Strien A.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    34 249

    To monitor progress towards the European Union target to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010, biodiversity indicators at a
    European scale are required. Butterflies have been proposed as biodiversity indicators due to their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle
    habitat and climatic changes and as representatives for the diversity and responses of other wildlife, especially insects. Since the frst butterfly monitoring scheme was established in the UK in 1976, schemes have now been established in over ten European countries. In each
    scheme, regular butterfly counts are made through the season each year along fxed routes under suitable weather criteria. Here, we used
    the counts to compile both national and supra-national annual indices for a number of species, in order to develop and test a preliminary
    European scale biodiversity indicator for the European Environment Agency. A multi-species grassland “European” Butterfly indicator
    was constructed by combining data from 17 characteristic grassland species, following closely the analytical method developed for the
    European Bird Indicator. The indicator showed a strong decline in butterfly abundance (of about 40% in 15 years from 1990). The European Environment Agency has subsequently proposed a number of indicators for inclusion in the set of European biodiversity indicators,
    butterflies being one of the most highest ranked. We hope to update and develop the indicator further (including compiling an indicator
    for woodland butterflies), make further analytical improvements and extend butterfly monitoring schemes to other countries in order to
    improve the quality and representativeness of the indicator.

  4. 20-year changes in the distribution patterns of Italian breeding birds

    Tellini Florenzano G., Campedelli T., Buvoli L., Londi G., Mini L.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    41 68

    Due to the lack, in Italy, of old and continuous breeding bird monitoring schemes, it is very diffcult to identify, in a objective
    way, changes occurred in the population size and distribution of bird species. In this paper the authors present the results of the comparison between data gathered through the frst four years of MITO2000 project (2000-2003) and the Italian Breeding Bird Atlas (1983-86).
    The main problem has been, starting from two different sampling methodologies, to obtain comparable data. These strong differences
    make possible comparisons about changes in distribution patterns only. Starting from the 103 MITO2000 target species, a signifcant distribution change was found for seven species: in particular, four species showed a clear southward range contraction: Hoopoe, Wryneck,
    Woodchat Shrike, and Corn Bunting; two species have expanded southwards: Woodpigeon and Collared Dove; whereas the signifcant
    change in Linnet distribution seems less clear. These results agree well with known general European processes, like the biodiversity loss
    within farmland and the increase in woodland surface.

  5. Monitoring of breeding birds in Umbria, Central Italy,between 2000 and 2005

    Velatta F., Lombardi G.2, Sergiacomi U.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    35 68

    Common species of birds breeding in Umbria were monitored from 2000 to 2005 by means of an annual repeated survey of
    1574 point-counts scattered across the whole region. 20 points were placed in each 10×10 km UTM grid unit, located 1 km apart from
    each other along low traffc roads, crossing the most representative environments. We obtained yearly population indices for 67 species
    and examined population trends; in order to avoid possible frst-time effects, we performed all the analyses omitting the frst year. Furthermore we calculated multi-species indicators for species associated with farmland and woodland habitat, taking the geometric means of
    annual specifc population indices. 42 % of the species for which trends could be produced have declined during the years 2001 to 2005,
    whilst only 28 % have increased. Multi-species indicators seem to show a better situation for farmland than for woodland birds.

  6. Raptor population monitoring: examples from migration watchsites in North America

    Bildstein K.L., . Farmer J. C., Yosef R.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    37 100

    Raptors are popular birds and they often serve as flagship species for broader conservation efforts. Unfortunately, they are secretive, wide-ranging, and area-sensitive species that can be logistically diffcult and fnancially prohibitive to survey and monitor. Raptors often congregate during migration however, and one cost-effective way of monitoring them is to sample their numbers at “migration
    bottlenecks” along migration corridors. The value of doing so is exemplifed by counts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania,
    USA. These counts, begun in 1934, tracked “Pesticide Era” declines in regional populations of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
    and Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus), as well as recoveries in both species after DDT was banned in 1972. Today, migration hotspots at Hawk Mountain; Cape May, New Jersey; Veracruz, Mexico; and Talamanca, Costa Rica; together with > 50 additional sites,
    monitor migratory populations of North American raptors. The Raptor Population Index (RPI), a collaboration involving Hawk Mountain
    Sanctuary, Hawkwatch International, and the Hawk Migration Association of North America, is analyzing count data from sites throughout North America. In 2008 RPI published a “State of North America’s Birds of Prey” that uses these analyses, together with data from
    Breeding Bird Surveys and Christmas Bird Counts, to summarize the conservation status of North American raptors. The counts also will
    be used to track shifts in the timing of migration that may be linked to climate change. Many of the data used in these analyses have been
    collected by amateur raptor watchers. Similar efforts in Europe and the Mediterranean should yield similar results. Migration watchsites
    such as Falsterbo, Organbidexka, Tarifa, Gibraltar, Col de Bretolet, the Straits of Messina, Burgas, Istanbul, the Northern Valleys (Israel),
    Eilat, and others -together with data from additional censuses and surveys- offer the chance to build a large-scale monitoring scheme for
    Europe’s 38 species of migratory birds of prey. We suggest ways for establishing large-scale raptor monitoring in Europe and the Mediterranean region.

  7. An important flyway for raptors in Europe: 13 years of monitoring in the North East of Italy

    Mezzavilla F., Gargioni A., Girardello M., Bellintani S., Martignago G., Pasqua A., silveri G., Piccolo F.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    35 85

    There has been an increase of interest in the study of raptor migration in Italy during the last two decades. We present the results of a long-term program aimed at monitoring post-breeding migrating raptors at two sites in North-eastern Italy. The sites are 107 km
    apart from each other, one being at Colle S Giorgio (430 sml) in the Asolani Hills (Province of Treviso E 11.56 N 45.49), and the other
    at Ponti sul Mincio, a few kilometers south of Lake Garda (Province of Mantova E 10.37 N 45.28). Monitoring at Colle San Giorgio has
    been underway since 1994. Monitoring at Ponti sul Mincio started in 2002. Both sites showed a constant increase in the number of birds
    observed with the highest peak of 11421 individuals recorded at Colle San Giorgio in 2004, and 15581 recorded at Ponti sul Mincio in
    2003. The mean angle of the flying direction of the birds was 243°. A comparison of daily counts showed a similarity in the daily number
    of individuals counted at both sites, suggesting that the two sites count many of the same birds. Flying height was also estimate or recorded, using a telemeter. Flying height was generally above 1500 m, suggesting that a large proportion of migrating raptors were not counted.
    Honey Buzzard was the most commonly observed species making up between 97.3 % and 99.9 % of total number of birds observed. In
    conclusion, in comparison with the results reported by Zalles and Bildstein (2000) this new flyway is amongst the most important sites in
    Europe for the number of Honey Buzzard recorded in recent years.

  8. Monitoring breeding raptor populations - a proposed methodology using repeatable methods and GIS

    Poirazidis K., Schindler S., Ruiz C., Scandolara C.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    34 211

    Monitoring raptor populations is a diffcult task, because birds of prey are wide-ranging, many are secretive and in some
    places very diffcult to detect. In this paper, a systematic methodology for the monitoring of raptor populations is presented. This methodology was developed and implemented in Dadia National Park, north-eastern Greece, which hosts a diverse community of birds of
    prey in high abundance. It was applied by WWF – Greece in the framework of the monitoring plan established in the area, aiming at the
    evaluation of the raptor population trends in order to promote conservation measures. From 2001 until 2005, all species of diurnal raptors, except the large vultures Aegypius monachus and Gyps fulvus, were surveyed in 34 permanent plots, and a total of 4000-6000 annual observations of 22-24 species (17-18 breeding species) were collected during March to July. The observations were used to estimate raptor species’ relative abundances and the numbers of territories. All the observations were entered in ArcGIS and the digitized
    observations were labelled, showing the number of individuals, age, sex, and bird behaviour under different symbols. For each species
    a spatially explicit territory analysis was performed, based on pre-defned criteria and the resulting breeding territories were classifed in
    two categories: confrmed or possible. During the study period, the total number of territories was almost stable with an average value
    of 350 territories. Common Buzzard was the most abundant raptor having at average 120 territories and other nine species were found
    to have more than 10 territories.

  9. Migration and wintering of released Italian Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus. First results

    Ceccolini G. , Cenerini A., Aebischer A.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    38 80

    The migration of two young Egyptian vultures Neophron percnopterus (Barbara and Arianna) born in captivity could be studied for the frst time by means of satellite telemetry. The two females were born in 2006 in the captive breeding station of Rocchette di
    Fazio (GR, Italy) from parents of Spanish origin and released two months later through the hacking method in Laterza (Puglia Region,
    Italy). The two vultures were inserted in a hollow of a rock-face on 30 July. After flying in the neighbourhood of the hack site for about
    two weeks, Barbara and Arianna started migrating south-west on 23 August. Barbara reached Sicily on 31 August and in the next days
    she wandered along the south-west coast of the island. The satellites got the last signals on 16 September. Arianna arrived in Sicily on
    30 August and reached the island of Marettimo (Egadi) on 1 September. She then crossed Sicily Strait and reached Tunisia. After having crossed Tunisia and Algeria, Arianna arrived on 16 September in Mali, 25 days after the beginning of the migration. She reached the
    wintering grounds in central-east Mali four days later. The distance covered from the hack site to the wintering area is of 3915 km. After
    a short stay in Niger and Burkina Faso she returned to central-east of Mali where she spent the whole winter. The migration of Arianna
    seems to suggest that the vultures born in captivity are perfectly ft to be released and that the hacking method is effcient. Furthermore,
    this allowed us to discover for the frst time the wintering area of an Italian born in captivity Egyptian vulture.

  10. Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus rufinus breedingdistribution and abundance in Cyprus

    Kassinis N.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    42 196

    his paper presents the 2005 population survey for the Long-Legged Buzzard in Cyprus. It gives information on occupied
    territories, and on aspects of the species’ breeding biology. Censuses were carried out from January to March 2005. 34 pairs (occupied
    territories) were recorded, 79% of which were in the south-southwestern part of Cyprus. 22 confrmed nests were found, 3 of which were
    abandoned during incubation. On average, 2.3 + 0.7 chicks / successful nest fledged from 14 closely monitored nests. Average distance
    from the nearest occupied nest site was 5.5 + 2.7 km (N = 28 sites) whereas average nesting density was 1 pair/7.3 km² (19 pairs). Nesting period (from nest building to fledging) started during the last 2 weeks of February for the early nesters and ended around the 15th of
    June when the last chicks fledged. In the vicinity of 7 successful nesting sites we spotted 2 active Bonelli’s Eagle eyries, closer than 1.5
    km, and 5 Peregrine pairs nesting in neighboring cliffs. Garbage was commonly used as nesting material. Preliminary pellet and prey remain analysis showed that mainly rodents (mainly Black Rat) and, to a secondary degree, reptiles (Starred Agama and Persian Large Whip
    Snake) were the raptor’s major preys. The Long-legged Buzzard in Cyprus shows increasing population trend. Poisoning, countryside
    housing development, road construction, disturbance at nest sites and shooting are limiting factors for the further expansion of the species.

  11. Farmland bird indicator on the basis of abundance and landscape systematization

    Hoffmann J., Kiesel J.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    39 197

    Information on the territory density of breeding birds in the context of land-use and biotope structures in the various landscapes are of particular value in habitat evaluation. For the development of a farmland bird indicator, abundances and populations of
    breeding birds should be therefore considered. For this purpose, a methodological approach was developed using the territory mapping
    method to get information for the agrarian landscape, and representative abundances of the breeding bird species in these areas. Development and testing of the method was done in Germany in the federal state of Brandenburg (30,000 km²) during 2005 and 2006. Starting
    with a GIS supported systematization and spatial marking off of the landscapes of the entire country, the agrarian landscape are defned
    in terms of the spatial location. Within the agrarian landscape, under particular consideration of the agricultural land use as well as the biotope structures, agrarian landscape types and agrarian landscape mosaic types are defned. In the agrarian landscape, then, proportionally
    to the defned landscape types, a number of 65 (1 km² – 100 hectares) study areas were chosen randomly. On the basis of the abundance
    data collected, as well as the area information drawn from the landscapes, the total populations of the breeding bird species are estimated.
    Using the Chi² Test, representative indicator species for the entire agrarian landscape as well as sub-indicators for the agrarian landscape
    types were selected. Through the use of target values for abundance of the indicator species, the current level of goal achievement for each
    of the species were calculated. From these values the farmland bird indicator was calculated. This serves to evaluate the agrarian landscape as a whole and the individual agrarian landscape types. Accordingly, in the federal state of Brandenburg, the grassland dominated
    landscapes feature somewhat more favourable habitat conditions in comparison to entire agrarian landscape, and are much more favourable in comparison to the arable dominated landscapes. In addition to the function as a state indicator, this farmland bird indicator can be
    used as a measure for the improvement and evaluation of existing agri-environment schemes.

  12. Species selection to develop an Italian farmland bird index

    Campedelli T., Tellini Florenzano G., Sorace A., Fornasari L., Londi G., Mini L.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    38 76

    The authors present a trial to identify a species-set on which building up an Italian national farmland bird index. Using the
    data of MITO2000 project (2000-2003 years), logistic regression functions were built for 98 species, selected from the 103 target species
    of the project, relating their presence with the surface of Corine land cover categories (II or III level). Each species was associated with
    a particular land use category according to the frst variable selected in the model through a stepwise procedure, taking into account only
    positive relationships. Out of the original 98 species, 44 showed a signifcant response to one of the ‘farmland’ land use categories, with
    a good correspondence with the known ecology of the species.

  13. Recent changes in agricultural landscape and bird populations in Latvia: impacts and prospects of EU agricultural policy

    Aunins A., Priednieks J.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    36 88

    Since Latvia joined the EU in 2004, the amount of funds allocated to the agricultural sector has increased substantially. The
    different measures included in the national Rural Development Plan serve as driving forces causing a rapid change in agricultural land
    use and farming practices. We used data from the Latvian Farmland bird monitoring scheme to describe the ongoing changes on Latvian
    farmland. We compared population trends of 54 individual species and species groups as well as species richness, diversity and total bird
    abundance between the periods 1995-2003 (period 1) and 2003-2006 (period 2). Pairwise comparisons of the trends of all the analysed
    species between the two periods showed that trends in period 2 were lower than in period 1 and this difference was signifcant. Splitting the species into six ecological groups, the pattern was consistent in all groups. However the differences were signifcant only in the
    “ShrubEdge” and “Forest” groups and near signifcant in the “Open” group. The trend comparisons grouping species by their wintering
    areas and main food sources also showed a similar pattern, however, the differences were signifcant only in the species wintering in SubSaharan Africa and insectivore group. Overall bird abundance as well as farmland bird abundance declined in period 2 and so did farmland bird species richness and diversity. Eleven species declined and only fve species increased statistically signifcantly in the period
    2 contrasting with four and 26 species in the period 1, respectively. The observed changes can be linked to ongoing changes on Latvian
    farmland: intensifcation, restoration of the overgrown areas as well as removal of various landscape elements to increase the “eligible”
    area for EU subsidies. Although these changes do not cause immediate threat to farmland birds, future development is very important.

  14. Explicit nation-wide habitat models for Italian larks(Alaudidae)

    Londi G., Mini L., Tellini Florenzano G., Sorace A., Campedelli T.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    32 71

    The aim of this paper is to assess the effect of broad-scale environmental and geographical variables on the distribution of
    Italian breeding larks (Alaudidae). Using the data of MITO2000 (2000-2003), logistic regression models were built, relating speciespresence with the area occupied by Corine land-use categories, habitat diversity, morphological and elevation-range variables, latitude
    and longitude. In all models, except for that of Calandra Lark, geographical variables were included and, in particular, latitude seems the
    most important. The steppic nature of Alaudidae is underlined by their negative response to environmental diversity (for Calandra and
    Crested Lark) and to woodland (for Crested Lark and Skylark); the Woodlark, on the contrary, shows a preference for heterogeneous
    landscapes. Large scale assessment of species ecology, besides assessing habitat suitability at large-scale level, give some basic insight
    about the ecology of the species.

  15. Assessing woodland ecological characters through a new objective bird community index, the WBCI

    Londi G., Tellini Florenzano G., Mini L., Caliendo M.F., Campedelli T., De Carli E.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    36 87

    Defning a bird species as a ‘forest’ one is often troublesome, owing to the lack of overall ecological knowledge and to differences among regions. In spite of this, in a lot of studies the set of ‘forest’ species is empirically chosen. The authors present an objective
    measure of the relationship existing, at the Italian national scale, between bird species and woods. Using data of the MITO2000 project
    (>17000 point-counts), 138 species were scored according to the alpha coeffcient of the logistic function linking species-presence and
    wood-cover. A community index (WBCI), obtained simply as the arithmetic mean of the scores of all present species, has proven (trying it
    with independent samples) to be strictly linked with the actual degree of wood cover, either at small (e.g. point-count) or large (i.e. 20 km
    grid Atlas) scale. The WBCI was tested also for its response to various sampling-effort levels, showing stability also with very incomplete
    data-sets (2/3 the actual species richness). Owing to its stability, specifcity, ease, and sensitiveness (allowing to detect also fne temporal
    habitat change trends), WBCI seems an useful and concise indicator of the complex relationships existing between woodland and birds.

  16. Explicit nation-wide habitat models for common Italian Piciformes

    Campedelli T., Londi G., Mini L., Tellini Florenzano G.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    33 60

    The aim of this paper is to assess the effect of broad scale environmental and geographical variables on the presence of Italian
    commonest breeding Piciformes (Wryneck, Green, Black, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers). Using the data of MITO2000 (2000-2003),
    logistic regression models were built, relating their presence with area occupied by Corine land-use categories, habitat diversity, morphological and elevation-range, latitude and longitude. Our analyses seem to give some basic information about large scale ecology of the
    species, allowing to indicate different habitat types (heterogeneus habitat for Wryneck, broadleaved woods for Green Woodpecker, woods
    for Great Spotted Woodpecker). Our models clearly show the importance of geographical variables to infer how species ecology changes at different latitudes: Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker for example, become commoner, and less linked to woods, northwards.

  17. Owls and woodpeckers in montane forests: mapping nocturnal hooting and diurnal drumming in German SPAs

    Purschke C.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    37 171

    Natura 2000 requires the nations of Europe to monitor bird populations, thereby enabling scientists to detect changes in biodiversity levels. Since conflicting methods and evaluations have been used throughout Germany, the results of the various studies are diffcult to compare. The research presented here involved the short-term monitoring of woodpeckers and owls in the Black Forest in southwestern Germany, combining different census techniques. The species monitored were the primary excavators of nesting cavities in these
    montane forests, i.e., the great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major, the black woodpecker Dryocopus martius and the three-toed
    woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, as well as potential secondary cavity nesters such the pygmy owl Glaucidium passerinum, Tengmalm’s
    owl Aegolius funereus and the tawny owl Strix aluco. Woodpeckers and owls are among the species most diffcult to monitor in the SPAs
    of the Black Forest mountain range. The monitoring method employed was territory mapping. In addition to documenting territoriality
    and the species’ behaviour prior to and during breeding season, potential breeding sites were also examined. The playback of voice recordings was found to increase the number of contacts and sightings at the beginning of the breeding season, but was almost useless later
    in the season. For the owl species, evidence of breeding was detected by means of selective and systematic controls. The accurate monitoring of the populations of these species requires expertise with forest species and knowledge of their habitat requirements. One major task
    involves the designation of appropriate census periods that incorporate the periods of highest acoustic activity for each study species, to
    ensure optimal detectability during territory mapping. A standardisation of procedures, taking into account the species’ activity patterns,
    is urgently required on both the national and international levels.

  18. Comparison of population indices derived from theFinnish Constant Effort Site and National BirdMonitoring Scheme data

    Piha M., Valkama J., Väisänen R.A., Saurola P.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    30 53

    We studied the concordance of population trends and indices between data from (1) the Finnish Constant Effort mist-netting
    Scheme (CES) and (2) line transect and point count based National Bird Monitoring Scheme (NMS). Population indices of nine common
    passerines between 1987-2006 were calculated with log-linear Poisson modelling (TRIM). The concordance of trends and population indices between the two monitoring schemes was studied by including the scheme as a covariate in the models. In general, the overall 20-
    year linear trends were rather similar between CES and NMS data across species, although the magnitude (but not sign) of trends differed
    in two species. On the other hand, when the short-term fluctuations were included in the comparisons, time-series of fve species (out of
    nine) showed signifcant differences between the two monitoring schemes. These fndings highlight that although long-term trends may
    usually be coherent, two data-sets may give different results if subjected to detailed analyses of between-year changes.

  19. Indirectly accounting for uneven sampling effort to estimate population sizes from atlas data

    Titeux N., Derouaux A., Jacob J.P., Kinet T., Paquet J.Y.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    34 48

    One important by-product of bird atlases is to provide population estimates to evaluate species conservation status. Unfortunately, large-scale atlas data are nearly always characterized by an uneven sampling effort among sampling units. This prevents from calculating straightforwardly reliable population estimates. We propose a procedure to deal with this unevenness when generating regional
    population estimates. The Breeding Bird Atlas of Wallonia 2001-2007 (Southern Belgium) was used to illustrate our method. Data were
    collected according to a grid composed of 508 sampling units. Each unit was assigned to one or several observers who gathered information on species abundance and breeding status according to an unrestricted procedure. In addition, a series of sub-sampling units were
    surveyed within each sampling unit to collect information according to a standardized procedure. Based on the data collected according to
    the unrestricted surveys in the sampling units and the corresponding standardized surveys in the sub-sampling units, we calculated three
    indices representing different aspects of the sampling effort at the sampling unit level. Those indices are not sensitive to the natural disparity in the nature/diversity of the habitats among the sampling units. The indices were then combined into a single score that was used
    to weight the contribution of each sampling unit to the calculation of the regional population estimates. Depending on the species, the
    consideration of the unevenness in the sampling effort led to considerable discrepancies in the population estimates.

  20. Choosing a totally repeated or partially-repeated sampling strategy to assess both population changes and distribution: the case of Italian breeding birds

    Tellini Florenzano G., Fornasari L., De Carli E., La Gioia G.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    29 64

    We tested how well different point-count sampling strategies can be used both as measures of species’ population indices and
    as a source of distribution information. Four sampling strategies were compared using Italian monitoring data (MITO2000). The strategies differed in terms of the number of random and repeated point-counts. To test the effciency of each strategy as a population index, the
    population indices per grid-unit were compared between-years (2000 vs 2001) with Spearman correlation and Syrjala test; to assess data
    usefulness for chorological purposes, the no. of species signifcantly detected was assessed for each strategy. Strategies involving both
    repeated and non repeated counts seem to give a useful compromise to gather both population and distributional data, though it would be
    better, at least in terms of cost, to plan different programmes for these two important attributes of the avifauna.

  21. Indicators and conservation policy: the German Sustainability Indicator for Species Diversity as an example

    Dröschmeister R., Sukopp U.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    27 135

    Bird monitoring data provide the basis for biodiversity policy related indicators in Germany. Such indicators focus on informing conservation policy and aim to reduce complex biological information to simple and easily understandable messages of political
    concern. The leading national conservation policy indicator is the German Sustainability Indicator for Species Diversity (SISD), which
    reflects the status of sustainability in the main habitat and landscape types. SISD summarizes the trends in abundance of 59 selected, representative breeding bird species. The issue of sustainability becomes part of the indicator construction by defning target values: an expert panel has determined a target value for every single bird species, which should be attained by 2015, provided that the guidelines for
    sustainable development and nature conservation are completely implemented. After standardisation of the population sizes at 100 % for
    the 2015 goal for all selected species, the deviation in percentage from those values can be computed for any individual year. Sub­indicators of each habitat type (farmland, forests, settlements, inland waters, coast/sea, Alps) are calculated. The SISD starts in 1990 and is
    updated annually. For 1970 and 1975, historical reference values were reconstructed. In 2006, SISD was at 70 % in relation to the target
    for 2015, showing a constant trend. To reach the target in time, sustainability policy must be strengthened signifcantly. SISD is used for
    assessment of sustainability and biodiversity issues in the German National Sustainability Strategy, the programme to support rural development (ELER), and the German National Strategy on Biological Diversity.

  22. Use of bird indicators in informing policy and practice:a tool for assessment

    HrIstov I.

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    28 46

    Biodiversity indicators are considered to be one of the most successful ways of communicating biodiversity status to decisionmakers, helping them to prioritize their policy and practices on biodiversity conservation. However, it is less clear how decision-makers
    make use of indicators, not only in the feld of conservation, but also in other felds of decision-making concerning social and economic
    development. Up to now there has been little assessment of the use of available biodiversity indicators by decision-makers. One of the
    reasons behind this is a lack of tools for such assessment. It is commonly asserted that birds are one of the most suitable groups for developing indicators for the state of biodiversity. Within Europe, long-term trend data exist that have enabled a suite of bird indicators to be
    developed. That is why the current study considers the processes standing behind the use of the Wild Bird Index as one of the most robust
    and well-developed indicators in Europe. This paper describes the role and purposes of biodiversity indicators in informing decision-makers and the debates in the literature on approaches to communicating an indicator’s message effectively. As a result, the study proposes
    a tool for assessing the level of indicator uptake. The tool is designed for assessing the uptake of biodiversity indicators in general. After
    being tested, the tool is expected to contribute to assessments of other biodiversity indicators effectiveness.

  23. Colonization ecology of European bird species in the Sub-Polar Urals

    Estafjev A., Selivanova N.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    26 74

    The unique peculiarity of mountain landscapes in the Sub-Polar Urals is that there lies the border between European and Asian
    bird faunas. This feature allows us to determine basic tendencies in colonization of European bird species. The Sub-Polar Urals region is
    impacted by human activity to a lesser extent than other areas of the Urals due to three reasons: undeveloped infrastructure; severe climate
    conditions and most of the territory is a part of the national park “Yugyd Va”. However, anthropogenic landscape transformation, especially development of infrastructure and logging of dark coniferous forest in plains adjacent to the Urals, leads to formation of ecological
    corridors in the taiga woodland that are represented by mixed and small-leaved forests, floodplain meadow-bush belts, gas and oil pipeline
    tracks. These corridors, in turn, promote non-taiga bird species irruption. Beginning from the 1970s 12 European bird species new for the
    region were registered in the Sub-Polar Urals. Such irruption may be caused not only by the anthropogenic landscape transformation but
    also by a climate amelioration. But the problem needs further special investigations.

  24. The migration of waders (Aves, Charadrii) in Greece

    Kazantzidis S., Vangeluwe D., Handrinos G., Pergantis F., Schogolev I., YianniS Roussopoulos Y

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    32 58

    Waders (Charadrii) were counted weekly at six Greek wetlands during spring and autumn of the years 1996, 1997 and 1998
    (161 counts in total). The aim of this research was to study the diversity, abundance and phenology of waders at the major coastal wetlands of Greece. Altogether 40 species were recorded. Among these, 15 were qualifed as common migrants (present in all wetlands in
    both seasons), 16 as moderately common migrants (present in more than three wetlands but not in both seasons), 6 as rare migrants (between two and ten records during the study) and three as very rare (with just one record). The species diversity was very similar between
    the autumn (38 species) and spring migrations (37). However, the abundance of waders overall, was higher during the spring passage. The
    most abundant species during spring were the Ruff Philomachus pugnax followed by the Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea and the
    Dunlin Calidris alpina. During autumn the Redshank Tringa totanus followed by the Little Stint Calidris minuta and the Kentish Plover
    Charadrius alexandrinus were the most abundant species. The abundance of 16 species was much higher in spring while the abundance
    of nine was much higher in autumn, indicating that these species use different migration routes depending on the season. It is most probable that weather conditions affect the arrival and departure dates of migrating waders. The interannual differences regarding the abundance of migrating waders could probably also be explained by weather conditions. The understanding of the abundance of waders, their
    diversity and migration phenology contributes to the conservation and management of Greek coastal wetlands, which are much affected
    by habitat degradation and human disturbance.

  25. The Atlas of breeding birds of Latium (PAUNIL 2006-2008)

    Brunelli M., Sarrocco S., Boano A., Corbi F., De Felici S., Guerrieri G., Meschini A., Roma S., Sorace A., GTallone G.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    30 79

    Ten years after the frst regional atlas, the Ornithological Societies of Latium, with the collaboration of the Regional Parks
    Agency, decided to update the inventory and distribution of breeding species in the Region. The new atlas project, called PAUNIL, pursues the following aims: to update the inventory and regional distribution of breeding birds; to create distribution maps of abundance for
    common species; to identify the regional hotspots of species richness; to analyse some relationships between species and habitats according to the Corine Land Cover classes. The project follows the European standard proposed by European Ornithological Atlas Committee for the collection of qualitative data on atlas and the Italian Breeding Bird Monitoring Program called MITO2000 for the collection
    of quantitative data. The current Atlas project plans to take into account data collected from 2000 to 2008, making use of records already
    collected during the MITO2000 program since its beginning, as well as records specifcally collected during surveys performed in 2006-
    2008. As of 2006 the data archive of PAUNIL contained 37,348 records pertaining to 171 breeding species, 77 non-Passerines and 94
    Passerines. The 10 most common species are: Sylvia atricapilla, Turdus merula, Corvus corone, Passer italiae, Fringilla coelebs, Parus
    major, Carduelis carduelis, Luscinia megarhynchos, Serinus serinus, and Hirundo rustica. As of 2006, the average number of species is
    47.3 per Recording UTM Unit (10 x 10 km).

  26. The Urban Waterfowl Fauna of Moscow in comparison with some other European cities

    Avilova K.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    29 59

    The attempt of comparing the waterfowl fauna of the sixteen European cities described in the monograph of Kelcey & Reinwald (2005), with the addition of original data collected for ten seasons (1998-2007) in Moscow was made. The two main questions will
    be addressed here:
    1) Is there a SW-NE gradient in the European urban waterfowl species richness?
    2) What kind of factors (natural and anthropogenic) were responsible of the pattern of the species richness distribution?
    The comparisons have revealed an increase of native urban waterfowl species richness from the South to the North of Europe, i.e. towards
    the cities situated in more severe climate zones. The same process occurs in the corresponding regional species richness. The area of the
    city is of subordinate importance for the native species richness. This effect possibly is determined by local habitat properties. The large
    area of swamps and other wetlands of the North-Eastern part of Europe are natural refuges for breeding and moulting of the large amount
    of the native European waterfowl species. Some of these species inhabit the cities. Only the regional human population density affects the
    amount of urban alien species. Climate warming may produce further increasing of wintering and of potential breeding species richness
    in the Eastern European cities, e.g. in Moscow.

  27. Aspects of breeding biology of Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis in a Grosseto province colony (Tuscany, central Italy)

    Dragonetti M., Giovacchini P.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    31 103

    In this paper we have studied a heron colony near a small artifcial lake in Grosseto province (Tuscany, central Italy) during
    2004, 2005 and 2006. The colony was almost mono specifc (Bubulcus ibis 94.9%; Egretta garzetta 3.1%; Ardea cinerea 1.2%; Ardeola
    ralloides 0.8%) and was settled in a flooded area inside a thick willow wood; therefore we had to adopt a non invasive census method
    (perimeter count) in order to avoid an excessive disturbance to the nesting pairs. The nesting pairs of Cattle Egret increased from 106 in
    2004, to 240 in 2006. A similar increase was recorded also for the other three species. The whole population of the colony (nesting and
    non nesting birds) grew from a total of 390 herons in July 2004 to 860 in July 2006. In spite of this increase of colony population, the
    wood area occupied by nesting birds did not increase: it was 0.90 ha in 2004, 2005 and 0.87 ha in 2006, while the number of trees with
    nests increased from 54 in 2004 to 86 in 2006. Moreover the mean number of nests per occupied tree increased from 2.06 ± 1.69 (range =
    1-9) in 2004 to 2.94 ± 2.85 (range = 1-20) in 2006, showing a tendency to an increased crowding, even if the total wood area theoretically
    available for the colony was about 8 ha. Cattle Egrets started nest building at the beginning of April; onset of laying was estimated on 21
    sample nests between 10 and 15 April; about 80% of those pairs were incubating their eggs between 7 and 25 May. After 15 June there
    were no more sample nests with birds incubating; hatching started between 7 and 25 May; at 9 June 68% of broods were already hatched.
    At the end of July all newborn Cattle Egrets were fledged. These data allowed us to estimate the average length of the incubation period
    in 23.8 days. The mean number of hatched Cattle Egrets per nest was 2.5 ± 0.95 (range = 1-5; N = 34) the average fledging success was
    2.2 fledglings/nest, a value relatively high if compared to the bibliographic data.

  28. A widespread gull population in a complex wetland:habitat specifc methods to census breeding pairs

    Soldatini C., AlboresS-Barajas Y.V., Mainardi D., Torricelli P.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    44 60

    The Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis michahellis (Naumann 1840), has recently increased in numbers
    and begun to settle in urban habitat and nest on roofs. Gulls nesting on buildings are a common sight in coastal areas of Europe and North
    America. We censused a population of Mediterranean gulls in the city of Venice and its natural surroundings. The aim of this paper is to
    introduce and describe techniques to count and estimate population numbers in various habitats. In natural environments, an aerial survey
    can be used to identify Yellow-legged gull colonies and to count breeding pairs. In urban environments, however, different census techniques are needed in order to give a complete description of the gull population. We counted and monitored the urban breeding population by applying direct counting techniques from fxed observation points. By integrating different methods, we were able to describe the
    wintering and breeding populations of Yellow-legged Gull in the largest Italian wetland system. In recent times gull populations of some
    species have undergone a remarkable increase. The Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis michahellis (Naumann 1840),
    is the protagonist of a recent phenomenon of general demographic increase and the settlement into urban habitat and roof nesting in many
    European coastal cities. The environmental problems caused by superabundant animal species, particularly “bird pests” have become increasingly acute during the past decades (Feare 1991). In particular, gulls are often found to be superabundant due to their adaptable, opportunistic and gregarious nature which makes them highly adapted to live in human-modifed habitats. Owing to their high ecological
    adaptability, their competitive behavior and their abundance, gulls are often considered pests (Vidal et al. 1998). Some close relatives of
    this species, such as the herring gull, Larus argentatus, and the black-backed gull, Larus fuscus, started settling into towns in the 1950’s
    (Goethe 1960). Since then gulls nesting on buildings are a common sight in coastal and, more recently, inland areas of Europe (Monaghan
    and Coulson 1977, Vincent 1987) and North America (Vermeer et al. 1988). Usually nesting gulls cause disturbance to the inhabitants of
    buildings due to noise, fouling and the aggression of adult gulls in defense of their young, and can also damage the façade of the building.
    Consequently, the spread of gulls into urban areas is a matter of growing concern and thus it is necessary to monitor population numbers
    and distribution. We studied the Yellow-legged Gull population in the Venice lagoon in order to monitor the population in and around
    the city of Venice. As city habitat is different than natural habitat, we developed a habitat-specifc counting system with various existing
    methods. In many cases study areas are heterogeneous, e.g. consist of various habitats and so it is necessary to choose the right counting
    technique for each of these habitats and circumstances to perform wildlife counts. In particular this is the case of the Yellow-legged Gull
    in the Venice lagoon, where estimates have been done based on partial surveys but a complete description of the population is still lacking
    due to the extent of the lagoon, the complex habitat composition and the diffcult access to some private areas. Thus, it is necessary to use
    an integrative approach to study the Yellow-legged Gull in the Venice lagoon. We censused both the urban and the natural Yellow-legged
    Gull populations living in the Venice lagoon, combining multiple census techniques in order to obtain a complex but realistic overview
    of the species’ population present in the lagoon.

  29. Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca a good candidate for an umbrella species in rocky mountains in Italy

    Rippa D., Caliendo M.F., Fusco L., Zaccara A.T., Valore M., Fulgione D.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    47 172

    The umbrella concept is often applied in conservation management but as yet has rarely been tested empirically. Alectoris
    graeca is endemic in Europe, occurring only in the Balkans, the Alps and the Apennine Italian mountains. This species could be considered a good example of an umbrella species, that is one whose presence can imply broader biodiversity interest. Its European breeding
    population is relatively small and has undergone a large decline since about 1950 having suffered from habitat fragmentation and loss.
    The current approach for maintaining viable populations supports management of the species’ habitat. We suggest that this conservation
    approach for the single species can also favor some other sympatric bird species and biodiversity in general. During 2004-2006, Rock
    Partridge and its companion bird community were censused in nine study areas from Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park (Southern
    Italy). The study area consisted of dry and open rocky mountain with grassy patches and low scrubs from 1000 to 1900 m a.s.l. The classifcation of each site using a model of habitat suitability (including scores for various environmental traits) highlighted some signifcant
    relationships between Rock Partridge presence / abundance and suitable habitat on the other side. The species was present in seven out of
    nine study areas, where the suitability was optimal or good; in the remaining two areas we found a lower value of suitability. In the seven
    positive sites we also found the highest values of species richness of mountain bird community, ranging from 31 to 62 species: species
    richness values appeared to be positively correlated with habitat suitability scores. We suggest that Rock Partridge may be considered as a
    good candidate as an umbrella species, and in appropriate areas therefore be a useful tool for conservation of wildlife in Cilento and Vallo
    di Diano National Park, specifcally, and potentially elsewhere within the species’ range.

  30. Extensive monitoring of Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus in Scotland: a pilot to test the efficacy of using volunteer surveyors for monitoring arctic-alpine birds

    Calladine J., Wernham C.

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    36 120

    A pilot study to examine the effcacy of using volunteers for the extensive monitoring of Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus in
    Scotland attracted 140 volunteer surveyors, many of whom were not specialist birdwatchers. A total of 3,212 km of transects (all self-selected by the volunteers) were surveyed for birds and signs of their presence (faecal piles) between April and August 2006.
    Encounter rates reported by volunteers were low (means of 0.25 birds and 0.34 ‘sites’ per km – ‘sites’ being an encounter rate that included groups of faecal piles) but they did not differ signifcantly from those achieved concurrently by experienced professional ornithologists (means of 0.16 birds and 0.57 ‘sites’ per km) undertaking monthly repeated surveys of transects for calibration purposes. Reports
    of no birds were made signifcantly less frequently by volunteers (54% of all survey returns) than by professional feldworkers (77% of
    transects), potentially indicating that a proportion of surveys where no birds were seen were not reported and that the encounter rates reported by volunteers may be artifcially high. The encounter rates of ‘sites’ by volunteers were highest in April and inversely related to the
    proportions of the transects covered by snow. No such relationships were apparent in their detection rates of birds, nor for either birds or
    ‘sites’ in the systematically repeated transect surveys. The differences between the volunteer surveys and the repeated transects are likely
    to be the result of biases associated with both surveyors and birds selecting snow-free patches.
    This project indicated interest and enthusiasm by volunteers to participate in the monitoring of Rock Ptarmigan in the mountains of Scotland. For the development of a long-term extensive monitoring programme, issues of reporting nil returns and an enhanced systematic approach to surveying should be explored. Any modifcations of the survey methods need to be acceptable to the volunteers to retain their
    enthusiasm however.