The 20th EBP meeting brings together 49 people from 21 different countries in Brno (Czech Republic)

The meeting was organized by the Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO) and took place during November 20-21 at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Brno. 

This time, the EBP meeting had a different format than previous ones as it included a LIFE EBP Reinforcement workshop aimed to support the completion of the EBP data flow by means of adding all the species recorded in Europe and by properly identifying and characterizing all data submitted using particular protocols (e.g. standard monitoring projects, nocmig, project specific field protocols, etc). Moreover, just after this meeting, during November 22-25, a second LIFE EBP Reinforcement workshop was organized at the same place, though this one only was open to the partners of the seven target countries of the LIFE project in SE Europe (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia). 

The participants in front of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences

The meeting was attended by 49 persons from 21 different countries and started on Monday afternoon with the welcoming words of Jan Zukal, director of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and Verena Keller, chair of the EBCC. 

Then the representatives of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Malta gave a brief presentation about each organization and a description of their needs regarding standard bird monitoring/online bird portals and how they would like to meet these needs thanks to the LIFE project. 

The session continued with an overview of the LIFE EBP Reinforcement project, the EBBA2 Live Farmland project and the International Census Plots (ICP) project and finished talking about the protocols table and its relevance to properly identify and characterize all data submitted using more elaborate data collection procedures (e.g. standard monitoring projects, nocmig, project specific field protocols, etc). 

The meeting was attended by 49 persons from 21 different countries

The Tuesday morning session started with an overview about the EBP data standard and the EBP data flow system and with the presentation of the overall approach that will be followed to add the data of the new species and the protocols information (timings, how to deal with new/old data, etc) to the EBP data flow (see LIFE WorPackage 8 for more information on this task). 

The morning session finished discussing about taxonomy. It was agreed that, to develop the LIFE WorPackage 8, the EBP would follow the last version of the HBW-BirdLife taxonomy (version 8.0). It was stressed that this work will also require the mapping of the taxonomy of each local portal to the EBP one, a work that will be carried out by each local portal with the support of the EBP coordination team. 

The first part of the Tuesday afternoon session was devoted to cover some EBP topics that were less directly related to the LIFE project. This included a brief update of the EBP project and the new EFSA-EBP-EURING contract and the presentation of one of the first outputs of this work: the implementation of the Bird Flu Radar in the new Migration Mapping Tool and the creation of an automatic alert system. 

The session continued with the presentation of the results of a paper that analysed the geographical patterns of arrival of 30 common migrant bird species using EBP data and the GBIF Humboldt extension, an extension of the GBIF code that will allow GBIF to correctly store and handle the datasets collected using more structured protocols (e.g. complete lists). 

Coffee breaks gave plenty of space to continue conversations

Finally, it was commented that the next in-person EBP meeting will take place in SE Europe in autumn 2024, most probably October. As the one taking place in Brno, it was pointed out that this meeting will be again a combination of a regular EBP meeting a various LIFE EBP Reinforcement workshops (two linked to the EBP viewer and, thus, of overall interest to the EBP community, and one focused on the partners of SE Europe and the regional dynamization campaign that will be organized in that area in 2025 and 2026). 

The meeting finalised with a session devoted to discuss the use of data collected outside primary areas by EBP and the local partners. Here, representatives from, eBird, Ornitho and Trektellen explained which were the technical and legal possibilities of these portals in terms of sharing observations and personal information with the local partners. 

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A grant to further improve the capabilities of the EBP project

      A new LIFE grant will help to further improve the capabilities of the EBP project during the next years.

      The project, entitled “Improving the capabilities of the EuroBirdPortal project in order to boost its contribution towards EU policy objectives under the Birds Directive and the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy", in short "LIFE EBP reinforcement" (project 101104367 — LIFE22-PLP-ES-EBP reinforcement), main aim is to improve the quantity and quality of bird-related data in Europe to enhance their contribution to EU policy objectives under the EU Birds Directive and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

      To do so, the EBP will closely work with the two other EBCC projects (the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 (EBBA2) and the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS)), as the combination of their different datasets and know-how will certainly increase the overall value of the policy relevant outputs. 

      Specifically, the main objectives of project are:

              1) Improving the geographical coverage and the overall quality of the bird-related data collected in Europe by increasing participation, data collection and use of more structured data collection protocols, particularly, in SE and E Europe.

              2) Adding all the species recorded in Europe to the EuroBirdPortal (EBP) data flow making full use of the EBP data standard and updating the EBP viewer accordingly.

              3) Producing two demonstrative outputs that showcase how the improved capabilities of the EBP project could be applied to help implement key EU Biodiversity Strategy goals.

              The project has a duration of three years and a half (July 2023 to December 2026) and an overall cost of 1.110.605,44 €, of which 90% (999.544,89 €) are financed by the European Union.

              The LIFE EBP reinforcement will be coordinated by the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF) and has nine associated beneficiaries: the Catalan Ornithological Institute (ICO), the Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO), the Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology (SOVON), the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), the Ornithological society "Naše ptice" (OD NASE PTICE), the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR), the Center for Protection and Research of birds of Montenegro (CZIP) and the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS).

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              Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day 2019

              Today is World Migratory Bird Day 2019! A perfect moment to to have a look at the migration patterns of 105 different bird species or follow Swallows, Cuckoos or your favourite bird as they undertake their amazing journeys through Europe at the LIVE EBP viewer.  

              This year, the emphasis for World Migratory Bird Day is on plastics. A real threat to birds everywhere. Find out how you can help by visiting


              Thanks to the EBP viewer we can see the patterns of migration of European birds better than ever

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              EBP features in Finish TV

              The EBP project has nicely featured today in MTV, one of the leading TV channels in Finland.

              Our colleague Peter Uppstu, from BirdLife Suomi, has been talking about the project latests developments and the functionalities of the EBP viewer, but also about birds and birdwatching in general.

              See the video and associated article in the MTV website here:

              Tiira, the Finish online bird portal, is collecting c.4% of the whole EBP data. 

              Peter Uppstu talking about EBP in MTV

              EBP maps have been used to visualize the arrival of the Barn Swallow to Finland

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              The 14th EBP meeting takes place at Évora, Potugal

              The 14th EBP meeting took place in Évora, Portugal, on April 8th 2019. Unlike previous meetings, the reunion was quite short (one morning only) but benefited from the fact that many people were attending the Bird Numbers 2019 conference (which took place also in Évora and started the same day in the afternoon).

              A total of 22 persons from 12 different countries attended the event this time. 

              The meeting took place at the wonderful senate room of Colégio do Espírito Santo, University of Évora

              The state of the implementation of the automated data flow and the launch of the LIVE EBP viewer were two of the key points of the agenda.  The progress made during the last months has been amazing and by the time of launching 15 online portals and more than 99% of the whole EBP data will be connected automatically on a daily basis. 

              The lessons learnt and considerations for future developments (e.g. addition of new species) were also discused. The option to compare LIVE maps with previous year data will be impleted most probably before summer.

              An overview on the progress of the LIFE EBP project, which will be ending on April 15th, was also presented.

              Another important point in the agenda was related to the future developments of the project and the options for funding. 

              In particular, the H2020 funding opportunities seemed to be particularly well suited for our initiative. One of the calls, "SC5-33-2020: Monitoring ecosystems through research, innovation and technology", is directed to proposals that shall design an EU-wide framework for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem services and, therefore may be particularly interesting for us. However, such an application would require a very strong consortium and, most probably, involve more than a single EBCC project.   

              The options to collaborate with ENETWILD/EFSA were also discussed. In fact, a meeting with these organizations was going to take place on April 9th (also at Bird Numbers 2019) in order to explore a possible collaboration in the framework of the EFSA initiative to collate and analyze spatial and temporal distribution information on wild birds relevant to Avian Influenza in Europe. 

              Finally, it was stressed that the EBP should define which are the specific products that could realistically deliver in the short/mid term since this would be essential when seeking the proper funding/collaboration at the EU level.

              The Russian colleagues gave a short talk about their online bird portal: ru-birds 

              Shortly after the general EBP meeting, on April 10th, eight persons participated in the fifth meeting of the LIFE EBP coordination team. 

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              EURING and EBP have signed an agreement of collaboration

              Today, in the framework of BirdNumbers2019, EURING and EBP have signed an agreement to promote co-operation in areas of common interest.

              EURING co-ordinates bird ringing throughout Europe in order to study bird migration, movements and population dynamics at a European scale. Ringing and recovery data for birds ringed throughout Europe are collated in the EURING databank to support such research.

              Through this agreement EURING and EBP agree to co-operate in order to study the migrations and movements of European Bird populations. This will be done primarily by seeking opportunities to undertake collaborative research, either through bilateral collaboration or through bilateral collaboration that also involves other parties.

              EBP and EURING have already undertaken some exploratory work to examine how EBP data on year-round occurrence and EURING data on migratory movements can be combined to explore the migration routes of different populations and an account of this work has been published on the EBP website .

              From left to right, Rob Robinson, EURING vice-chairman, Ruud Foppen, EBCC chairman, Gabriel Gargallo, EBP Steering Committee chairman, and Stephen Baillie, chairman of the EURING Migration Atlas Committee.

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              The LIVE EBP viewer has been launched today

              The LIVE EBP viewer has been launched this afternoon in the framework of the Bird Numbers 2019 conference in Évora, Portugal.

              Now up-to-date bird movements that take place across Europe are just one click away! The LIVE EBP viewer shows the distribution of 105 bird species on weekly animated maps spanning from January 2010 up to the current week. This is an unprecedented development in European ornithology and a landmark in the mobilization of citizen science data.

              The new EBP project video teaser presented in the launching event

              In his opening speach Ruud Foppen, EBCC chairman, has described the origins of the EBP project and its role in the EBCC and Frank Vassen, from DG Nature, has hightlighted the relevance of combining the efforts of so many partners and online portals to obtain European-wide visualizations of bird movements.

              Opening speach by Ruud Foppen, EBCC chairman

              Gabriel Gargallo, EBP project coordinator, has stressed the importance of the work developed by all the IT specialists involved in the data connectivity implementation, one of the key developments behind the LIVE EBP viewer.  He has also stressed the the importance of the EU LIFE preparatory grant obtained shortly after the first EBP viewer was presented in June 2015. Thanks to this grant,  during the last three years the EBP has put in place a completely new central database repository and automatic data-flow system, has increased by 27% its original geographic coverage and has significantly improved the quality of the data gathered across Europe.

              The LIVE EBP viewer is possible thanks to the implementation of an automatic data flow that covers 99% of the whole EBP data

              Bird Numbers 2019 attendands could enjoy the LIVE EBP viewer in the middle of the launching event

              Enjoy the LIVE EBP viewer!

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              The new promotional video is ready for the LIVE EBP viewer launching!

              The launch of the LIVE EBP viewer is approaching (April 9th) and nothing best that a new video teaser about the EBP to help the promotional campaign. Hope you like it! 

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              Promotion of complete lists and improving coverage in Portugal

              The main  online portal used by ornithologists and birdwatchers in Portugal is PortugalAves eBird. Since 2004 the Portuguese Society for Bird Protection (SPEA) has officially adopted this portal for their monitoring projects.

              Although PortugalAves eBird promotes the use of complete lists, with an annual average of 73% since 2010, the use of complete lists and coverage is unbalanced across the country – better coverage and use of complete lists in the coastal regions. With this is mind, and thanks to the support of the LIFE EBP Project, in 2017 a campaign was launched to promote participation in areas poorly surveyed and simultaneously the use of complete lists. 

              Number of complete and no complete lists (casual records) submitted annually on the PortugalAves eBird in Portugal since 2010 .

              Thanks to this campaign, the number of complete lists has increased by 15% in Beja district (Southern Portugal) to 36% in Guarda district (Northern Portugal). Besides the increase on the number of complete lists submitted, there was also an increase in coverage, which in the end resulted in more and better data submitted to the EBP Project.

              Number of complete and no complete lists (casual records) submitted annually on the PortugalAves eBird in Guarda district (Portugal) since 2010. 

              Number of complete and no complete lists (casual records) submitted annually on the PortugalAves eBird in Beja district (Portugal) since 2010 .

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              BirdWatch Ireland promotes data collection

              Ireland is one of the countries covered by the EBP project where data collection is still quite low. For this reason, and in the context of the LIFE EBP Action A10BirdWatch Ireland undertook a communication campaign aimed at increasing the submission of bird observations to BirdTrack.

              One of the actions involved the publication of one article about the BirdTrack portal and the EBP in the December 2018 edition of E-Wings, the monthly e-magazine circular of BirdWatch Ireland which is sent to 25,777 of its members and supporters. The article promoted the project and encouraged more volunteer uptake. 

              In spring 2019 another article that also promoted participation in BirdTrack was published in Wings Magazine, the BirdWatch Ireland quarterly membership magazine that is circulated to 15,000 members.

              The BirdTrack article appearing in the 2019 spring issue of Wings Magazine

              Moreover, during 2018  three presentations/guided walks were organized to promote Swifts and BirdTrack among different BirdWatch Ireland branches:

              • Kildare Branch (12th April 2018)
              • Meath Branch (29th May 2018)
              • Tolka Branch (21st November 2018)

              Those attending were encouraged to use BirdTrack and, particularly, its mobile app.

              Brian Caffrey giving a guided Swift & BirdTrack walk & talk to Meath Branch of BirdWatch Ireland

              A contribution by: Brian Caffrey (Assistant Head Surveys & Monitoring of BirdWatch Ireland)

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              The animated EBP maps available in the BirdLife Data Zone

              We are happy to annouce that the animated EBP maps are already available in the BirdLife Data Zone, one of the biggest and most accessible sources of information about birds. The BirdLife Data Zone offers a large array of information on  more than 10.000 bird species which focusses, particularly, on conservation and distributional aspects. 

              Now, the section "reference and further resources" of each of the accounts of the 105 EBP target species includes an embeded EBP map depicting their year-round overall patterns of distribution over Europe.  The aim is to cover further species as soon as more of them are made available in the EBP viewer in the future.

              This task has been conducted in the framework of LIFE EBP Action B2, which is devoted to promote synergies between the EBP and other signficant projects.  In this case, the objective was to promote collaboration with BirdLife Data Zone in order to further enrich the content provided by this initiative and to bought to a broader audience valuable information collected by the online bird portals. 

              The EBP Fieldfare animated map embeded in the species BirdLife data Zone section 

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              The LIVE EBP viewer to be launched on April 9th at Bird Numbers 2019

              The LIVE version of the EBP viewer will be launched on April 9th in the framework of Bird Numbers 2019. This new version of the viewer will be showing the distribution of 105 bird species on weekly animated maps spanning from January 2010 up to the current week, hence the term LIVE.

              The whole content of the LIVE viewer will be updated on a daily basis, thus ensuring that even the latest bird movements that take place across Europe can easily be seen on the maps. This has been possible thanks to the development of a new central database repository and the implemetation of an automatical data flow system involving, so far, 13 different online bird systems and c. 94% of the whole EBP data.  

              The LIVE EBP viewer will be an unprecedented development in European ornithology and the most important achievement of the LIFE EBP project

              The LIVE EBP viewer will be showing even the latest bird movements

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              The 13th EBP meeting brought very good news: the LIVE version of the EBP is nearly ready

              The 13th EBP meeting took place in Brussels, Belgium, on November 29-30th 2018. A total of 19 persons from 10 different countries attended the event this time.  

              Attendants of the 13th EBP meeting at Mundo-B, Brussels, Belgium

              As in previous meetings, the progress of the automated data flow implementation (LIFE EBP Action A6) was one of the key points of the agenda. During the last months the advances on that action have been very positive and it is expected that the automated data flow implementation will reach 86% of all data soon. A significant progress since the target of the LIFE EBP was to attain at least 80% of the whole data.  

              The other most relevant point in the agenda referred to the LIVE version of the EBP viewer, a development closely associated to that of the automated data flow. To optimize time and resources, the work on the viewer took place in parallel to that of the data flow and thanks to this approach it was possible to present its fully functional beta version during the meeting. 

              The LIVE viewer, though not still public, shows data up to the previous day and is updated on a daily basis thanks to the data received automatically through the data flow system that has been put in place.   

              The LIVE EBP viewer will be a significant milestone for European ornithology and, therefore, it was decided that Bird Numbers 2019, the 21st Conference of the EBCC taking place in Portugal in early April 2019, would be the ideal venue for its public launching. The exact timing will be decided in agreement with the Bird Numbers 2019 organizers in early 2019.    

              Since the LIFE EBP project is finishing by the end of the year, the state of progress of the overall project was also discussed in detail. Most of the actions, among them the most important ones,  have already reached the expected results but in a few cases some intense work still will be required (e.g. Best Practice Guidelines, LIFE EBP Action A9). 

              At the end of the meeting, an open discussion about the potential outputs of the EBP project that could be of interest for the European Commission were also discussed.  

              The beta version of the LIVE EBP viewer was presented for the first time during this meeting

              Just before the general EBP meeting, on November 29th in the morning, seven persons participated in the fourth meeting of the LIFE EBP coordination team. 

              The state of the data connectivity is being  discussed during the LIFE EBP coordination meeting

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              The automated data flow implementation to reach 75% of the whole EBP data soon

              The implementation of the automated data flow has been advancing notably during the last weeks. Trektellen (data from Netherlands and Belgium) is already connected and the work with Avimap (Netherlands), DOFbasen (Denmark), Tiira (Finland) and (Czech Republic) is advancing well or even in test mode phase. Once all these systems are fully connected roughly 75% of all the data collected in the framework of the EBP partnership will already be being submitted automatically to the central repository. 

              For portals that will not be connected automatically in the course of the EBP LIFE project (mostly portals that joined once the LIFE project started), a manual or semiautomatic data flow system is being put in place to ensure that the real time version of the EBP viewer shows data from the whole partnership. On this regard, it is important to note that the data from Smartbirds (Bulgaria) has already been uploaded to the central data repository and that the work with the portals (Hungary) and Ornitodata and OpenBirdMaps (Romania) is advancing very well.

              The data from Trektellen (Netherland and Belgium) and Smartbirds (Bulgaria) is already depicted in the beta version of the new real-time EBP viewer 


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              Three news species available in the EBP viewer

              Three new species (Blue Tit, Winchat and Stonechat) have been added to the EBP viewer. These species were already among the 105 target EBP species but have remained hidden due to some technical problems with the data.  

              Due to their contrasting migratory patterns, the Winchat and the Stonechat are a nice pair to be seen in the EBP viewer

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              12 countries already submitting data automatically to the central EBP data repository

              The automated data flow implementation keeps advancing. Currently we are already receiving data in near real-time from 12 different countries and three online systems: BirdTrack, Ornitho and Aves Symfony.  All them submit data automatically to the EBP central repository on a daily basis and updated up to the previous day.

              The beta version of the real-time EBP viewer is also automatically updated and almost live visualizations of the latest bird movements can already be seen (see GIF shown below).  This new version of the EBP viewer will be accessible to EBP partners in brief.  

              This August movements of species like the Yellow Wagtail and the European Honey Buzzard can easily be appreciated in the beta version of the new real-time EBP viewer. 

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              France goes to complete lists

              Since the launch of Faune-France in July 2017, the French contribution to the EBP project has drastically increased. Most of the territory is now covered by the national portal, partnership with new nature protection NGOs was greatly developed and the number of data collected in the last 12 months now reaches 10 millions!

              But the main French revolution is still in progress. France has undertaken a deep transformation in the way birds are recorded. While most of the data were collected as casual records, birders are now invited to record their observations as complete lists. This makes their contributions even more valuable to science and biodiversity protection.  

              Since the beginning of 2018, about one fourth of all the data collected are now recorded in lists, making it possible to evaluate the time spent by naturalists in the field and to get a better idea of what species are present and absent in a place at a particular time.  

              New surveys, based on list recordings were promoted in 2017 and 2018 such as the EPOC (Estimation of common birds population), that reinforce the French Common Bird Survey. Other promoting tools are still in development. They will soon contribute to reach the short term goal that the Faune-France team has in mind: half the data collected by complete lists.

              Currently, Faune-France collects 25% of the data as complete lists: a big step forward!

              A contribution by: Phillipe Jourde (LPO France)

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              An article in Bird Census News features the new vesion of the EBP viewer

              During the last two years most of the work done in the framework of the EBP has been focussed to fulfil the objectives established in the LIFE EBP preparatory project. In this context, the launch of a new version of the EBP viewer has been a key milestone. The main improvements and functionalities of this version of the viewer are described in detail in this article of Bird Census News.

              There were two main reasons behind the decision of developing a new version of the viewer. On one hand, the partnership increased largely, particularly in 2017, thanks to the participation of the key ornithological institutions in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Turkey and their respective online portals. This meant that the geographical area shown in the previous version of the viewer was far too limited to properly show the data collected by the new partners. Moreover, the increase in geographical coverage would require also doubling the capacity of the current cloud mapping and database repository that handles the processed data used to visualise the animated viewer maps. 

              On the other hand, it was required to adapt the old version of the EBP viewer to the much higher updating frequency expected to be put in place by the end of 2018, when a new data sharing standard, automated data flow and database repository will be fully functional. Up to know, the data has been uploaded to the viewer once a year and the whole data flow has been managed on a manual or semiautomatic basis (the partner’s datasets are not directly connected with the central EBP data repository). By the end of the year, thanks to these new technical developments the content of the EBP viewer will have to be updated at a weekly basis and showing data up to the previous week.

              Finally, this new version is fully responsive and tablet and mobile friendly, allowing people to enjoy the EBP maps from a much bigger array of devices than previously.


              The new version of the EBP viewer can also be enjoyed from mobile devices

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              Next EBP meeting will take place in Évora, Portugal

              The next EBP meeting will take place in Évora, Portugal, on April 12-13th 2018. This will be the 12th meeting of the project and, so far, 20 persons from 11 different countries have already confirmed their attendance. 


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              The new version of the EBP viewer is already online!

              Today we are pleased to release an improved version of our viewer: now bird movements across Europe can be visualized in a way never seen before.

              This new version of the viewer has also been updated with 40 million more new bird records collected in 2016 and now shows animated all-year round maps of 105 bird species for a period of seven years, ensuring that the EBP maintains its position as the largest and most dynamic citizen science biodiversity data flow in Europe. 

              This improved version of the viewer also incorporates a new visual design and several new functionalities, including zooming and embedding options (see an exemple just below these lines). Moreover, the extension of the area covered by the maps has increased markedly thanks to the incorporation of data from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Romania and Turkey.

              All these improvements have been possible thanks to a LIFE preparatory project (LIFE15 PRE/ES/000002 / 2016-2018) granted in 2016 by the European Commission.

              We hope that the new improved version of the EBP viewer will help highlight the value of the data collected through the online bird portals operating in Europe and the relevance of sharing bird observations. The EBP main objective is to unravel the seasonal large-scale patterns of bird distribution in Europe, but this can only be possible thanks to the contribution of 100,000 volunteer birdwatchers that share their observations in the online portals and by the efforts of EBP partners to combine this huge amount of data in a sound and structured way.

              Thanks to these combined efforts we are in a better position to understand changes in bird migration patterns, like the new route followed by Cranes in Southern Europe, or the influence of weather and climate on bird migration.

              Enjoy the new viewer and good discovery!

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              30 participants from 16 different countries will attend the next EBP meeting

              The next EBP meeting will take place in Barcelona on November 13-14th 2017. This will be the 11th meeting of the project and the one with the highest participation so far, with 30 persons from 16 different countries already having confirmed their attendance.   

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              CRO maps available again

              Corrected Regional Occurrence (CRO) maps have been updated with the data from 2015 and the 50 new species and are already available in the EBP viewer.

              Modelling the spatial and temporal dynamics of bird distributions is one of the main but challenging objectives of the EBP project. This work is underway and, therefore, it has to be stressed that CRO maps are still very preliminary.


              CRO maps make use of a complex set of spatial and temporal aggregation and smoothing procedures to account for differences in observational effort and reporting activity of the observers.

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              Six new countries join the EBP project

              During the last months, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary and Romania have joined the EBP partnership.

              Thanks to the key ornithological institutions in these countries (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Association BIOM, Estonian Ornithological Society, Hellenic Ornithological Society, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, Societatea Ornitologica Romana and Milvus Group) and the data collected through their associated online portals, the EBP will nicely increase its geographic coverage, particularly, towards southeastern Europe and the eastern migratory flyway. 

              The data provided by these new partners will be shown in the EBP viewer in late summer, once the viewer is updated with the data for the period 2010-2016 and the maps redesigned to properly show the new geographic coverage.


              The new EBP partners (countries in green) will greatly improve the geographic coverage of the EBP project.  

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              New update of the EBP viewer increases to 20.6 million the number of map combinations available to choose from!

              Today, the EBP demo viewer has been updated with nearly 50 millions of new data. Moreover, the number of bird species available in the portal has been doubled and the period of years extended to 2010-2015. This is a first visible output of the Life-funded project aiming at developing EBP into a full-fledged web portal displaying detailed and up-to-date European-wide patterns of bird distribution in near-real-time.

              Currently, the EBP demo viewer depicts animated weekly distribution maps of 100 different bird species for six years (2010-2015). Moreover, a new type of map has been added, allowing the visualization of the overall seasonal patterns of bird distribution by combining the whole six years of available data. Since two animated maps of any species, year and type can be selected to be shown simultaneously for direct comparison, this means that after the new update more than 20.6 million different map combinations are now available to choose from! Ten times more than before.

              Snapshot of the EBP viewer: two distribution maps combining all available years of data (2010-2015) for the Brambling and the Tree Pipit, two of the new species available after the new update.

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              10th EBP meeting and workshop on Best Practices

              EBP partners and guests will be gathering in Namur (Belgium) on 2-3 March 2017. Jointly with a regular EBP meeting, a thematic workshop will be organized in relation to an action of the EBP Life project aiming at “Promoting Best Practices and implementing overall benchmarks and quality indicators”. A total of 27 representatives from 17 countries will be attending this interesting event. A great opportunity to improve the quality of the data collected and promote the continuous improvement of the individual online portals themselves.

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              40 million new records every year!

              The number of records collected by the on-line bird recording portals run by the EBP project partners reached a new record in 2015: 40 million! This means 19% more records than in 2014, and 140% more than in 2010. During the last 5 years, the recording activity has been increasing permanently, a pattern easily seen in the animated heat map shown below.

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              Do we have to get ready for a Waxwing winter?

              The Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) is well known for its irruptive migrations. This Holarctic species breeds in boreal forests. In winter, Waxwings from Northern Fennoscandia are heading South but they usually stay in the Northern half of the Continent, around Baltic Sea. During “irruption winters” however, large numbers are spreading across Western and Central Europe (Britain, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, and France). Large groups can then easily be observed in parks and gardens, where they feed on berries, for the greatest pleasure of nature photographers.

              In the EBP viewer, you can easily visualize and compare dynamic maps of an “irruption” winter, such as the last one on record: 2012-2013, with a “normal” winter, such as 2013-2014:

              The option to compare “winters” rather than “civil years” on the maps is particularly useful to study the phenomenon. Irruption years are not all similar: during 2010-2011 winter, Waxwings were abundant in Britain, but not so numerous in Central Europe, at the contrary of 2012-2013 winter:

              While the last two winters were not “irruption years” for Western/Central Europe, current observations and migration counts suggest that 2016-2017 may well turn out to be a Waxwing winter… BirdTrack is showing a much higher reporting rate than usual in Great Britain, is showing a strong presence of Waxwing along the Southern shores of the North Sea, and groups of Waxwing were observed from late October in Northern Germany.

              Currently, we are working to bring you all this information in a near-to-real time basis so that it will be much easier to get ready for a new Waxwing winter! Between-years comparisons of such large-scale movements across the continent will also hopefully offer new insights about the drivers of the irruption, which are supposed to be food-shortage in the North combined with a good breeding success in the previous summer. However, detailed mechanisms are still surprisingly poorly understood.

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              EBP helps to understand movement patterns of rare species: the example of the Yellow-browed Warbler

              The EuroBirdPortal (EBP) project will increase our understanding of large-scale migration patterns for a range of common birds frequently recorded by birdwatchers all over Europe. However, observation pressure is so high when all portals are combined that migration patterns of rare species can also be apprehended.

              Early autumn is a very good period for some of the rare Siberian species, and nowadays the adrenaline level in fanatic birders is very high knowing that two strong anticyclones, as seen below, are currently driving eastern wind directly to NW Europe.

              A high yield of Eastern vagrants or rare migrants was therefore expected and is actually already observed. Among them, the Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), a tiny passerine breeding from Ural region to Eastern Asia and normally wintering in South-East Asia, is now in the limelight. Very high numbers of this beautiful species are currently recorded in many European countries, especially on the eastern coast of the UK.

              The pattern of migration of this nice warbler can easily be seen through the EBP viewer:

              In the animated map we can clearly observe that the first records take place in Finland during the first week of September, then subsequent arrivals occur in Eastern UK and southern North Sea coastal areas. In some years, they appear first in the UK, but in other years they come more quickly in the Netherlands and Belgium, depending probably on local weather variation. The peak week is in general between 8 and 14 October.

              When EBP will run on a near-to-real time basis, these impressive migration events as the one observed this year will be rapidly detected and easily followed by birdwatchers all over the continent. Even before that, keep an eye open and train your hearing, because 2016 is THE year to find this species at your local patch!

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              Early northward movements in 2014, the hottest year on record

              As exemplified by the Common Chiffchaff, the new EBP animated maps nicely depict how several partial migrants moved northward much earlier during 2014 than in other recent years. Interestingly, the pattern parallels that of temperature: 2014 being the third warmest winter and the warmest spring in Europe since 1950 and, overall, the hottest year on record.

              Common Chiffchaff observations and minimum temperature during mid March 2013 and 2014.

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              More than 2.6 million different animated map combinations

              The data from 2014 has been uploaded to the EBP demo viewer, notably increasing the number of distributional maps that are depicted. With this update, now the viewer allows free access to animated weekly distributional maps of a total of 50 different bird species for five years (2010-2014). With several map types available, this means that more than 2.6 million different animated map combinations are available to choose from.

              Millions of animated map combinations like this are available in the EBP viewer.

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              A grant to develop the EBP viewer into a near real-time solution

              The EBP has recently secured a LIFE preparatiory grant from the European Commission to develop the project entitled “Combining and improving online bird portals data to display near-real-time spatiotemporal patterns of bird distribution across Europe", known by the acronym LIFE Euro Bird Portal (LIFE15 PRE/ES/000002).

              The project has a duration of three years (January 2016 to December 2018) and an overall cost of 510.557 €, of which 60% (306.334 €) are financed by the European Union.

              The main specific objectives of project are:

              1) To create a new EBP data sharing standard, database repository and data-flow system capable of managing automatically and in near-real-time all data interchange processes between the local online portals and the central databank.

              2) Adapt and improve the current EBP demo viewer and the spatial bird distribution models in order to reliably display detailed and up-to-date European-wide spatiotemporal patterns of bird distribution in near-real-time.

              3) Increase the geographical coverage of the EBP project to include most of the European Union (>90% of its territory).

              4) Improve the quality and relevance of the data collected.

              For further details see the LIFE EBP website.

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              8th EBP meeting: Netherlands, May 31th-June 1st 2016

              The next EBP meeting will be held in the Netherlands during May 31th and June 1st. The meeting will be organized by (SOVON) and will take place at the Villa Wylerberg, Beek-Ubbergen.

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              All currently available species already uploaded to the viewer

              This week we finished the opening of all available species with the Northern Pintail. Now, the total number of available species is 49. Enjoy!

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              Joint EBCC workshop

              The first joint workshop of the 2nd European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2), Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) and EuroBirdPortal (EBP) was held in Mikulov (Czech Republic) in early November. All three initiatives are under the umbrella of European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and have managed to gather 96 participants from 41 European countries. The main objectives of the workshop were to present the current work and progress of the initiatives and enable all participants to enrol into discussion about future directions and development of the initiatives.

              Participants to the joint EBBA2-PECBMS-EBP Mikulov workshop.

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              Two new species available

              Two widespread passerines, the Common House Martin and the Northern Wheatear, have been added today to the list of available species in the EBP demo viewer. Both are summer visitors, but their migratory and phenological patterns are quite different. Have a look at the animated maps!

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              EBP will be launched next Friday, June 5th, in Brussels

              The EBP project and its demo viewer will be launched next Friday (June 5th) in Brussels, in the framework of the (Green Week 2015), the annual conference on European environment policy organized by the European Commission.

              The presentation will take place in a session entitled ("The WEB and IT for nature") that will look at the exciting possibilities opening up for collecting and presenting citizen science data online. Other presentations in this session will focus at the latest developments in the management of environmental data within the European Environment Agency, and on how satellite data can be used for environmental inspections. Afterwards, the side event "Monitoring bird populations at the continental scale: a closer look on the new EuroBirdPortal and the other EBCC initiatives" will be devoted to the presentation of the aims of the EBCC and the ambitious work that is undertaking in the large scale monitoring of European birds in time and space.

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              EBP teaser video

              We just produced a short teaser video about the EBP demo viewer. Hope you enjoy it!

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              EBP recording activity at a glance

              The species maps shown in the EBP demo viewer are based on more than 86 million bird records submitted between 2010 and 2013 to the on-line bird recording portals run by the project ( partners ). This heat map nicely depicts the temporal evolution of this recording activity. Certainly, the geographical coverage has been greatly improved since 2009 (see, for example, Germany and Austria), and sure it will be further increased in the next few years! Good birding!

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              6th EBP meeting: Belgium, March 12-13th 2015

              The next EBP meeting will be held at the (Bosmuseum), in Hoeilaart (Belgium) between March 12th and 13th. The meeting will be organized jointly by Natuurpunt, Natagora and Dirk Raes (European colour-ring Birding©) and has the support of InVerde - ANB, the Flemish Agency For Forest and Nature.

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              Examining spatiotemporal patterns of bird movements using EBP observations and ringing recoveries

              There are several sources of information on bird movements, including networks of weather radars , ringing data, and tracking data, that complement the information obtained from observational data gathered by EBP. Such information is particularlynecessary if we are to obtain a good understanding of migratory connectivity and population-specific migration routes. LIFE EBP Action 12 started to explore how these different datasets can be combined to provide a more comprehensive picture of bird movements. This is an important approach for the development of the EBP project and has the potential to create powerful synergies among the existing research networks. Such analyses have the potential to provide crucial information for the conservation and management of migratory bird populations, which may be affected by environmental conditions at each of the different stages of their annual cycles.

              In this post we explore possible ways in which data on marked individuals from the EURING Databank (EDB) and EBP observational data can be combined to describe the spatiotemporal nature of avian movement patterns. This may also provide useful ideas for the Eurasian African Bird Migration Atlas that is to be developed by EURING on behalf of CMS

              Here we use data on the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and the Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus to exemplify how ringing data can highlight spatial connectivity patterns between different populations which cannot be detected from observational data alone.

              The maps

              To easily visualize how the information provided by each data source can complement each other, we prepared week by week animated maps at a 30x30 km square resolution combining EBP occurrence data and EURING databank recovery information. 

              The recovery of each individual bird was assigned to a “region of origin”, according to the area of Europe in which it was first encountered (Figure 1). Moreover, we added a three-week buffer to all ringing recovery encounters to overcome the sparseness of the ringing data compared to the EBP observational data. This means that an individual ringing recovery record is added to the map for both the week preceding and the week following the focal week, in addition to being mapped in the focal week itself.

              Figure 1. Regions of  origin as defined for the bird recoveries.

              Results for Eurasian Curlew

              EBP data shows that the Eurasian Curlew winters primarily along the coasts of the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, with fewer observations along coastal Iberia and Italy (Figure 2). Spring migration shows birds moving into inland regions of the UK, central Europe, and northern Europe for the duration of the breeding season. In mid to late summer, Eurasian Curlew move out of inland and northern regions and observations become more concentrated in coastal areas by late September/early October. EBP data show substantial overlap in wintering, migration and breeding range, particularly in the UK and continental countries bordering the North Sea.

              Figure 2. Eurasian Curlew weekly animated occurrence map based on EBP data.

              Ringing data show that the majority of individuals originate from West, Central and Northern regions (Figure 3). Patterns are difficult to grasp in the animated map combining all recoveries (Figure 4) but those focussed on each of the three regions with the most data (western, central and northern regions of Europe) reveal some more interesting patterns that could not be discerned from the observational EBP data alone (Figures 5-7). 

              Figure 3. Locations of  first encounter of Eurasian Curlew recoveries (the colour of the recoveries refers to their region of origin; cf. Figure 1).

              Figure 4. Eurasian Curlew weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries (the colour of the recoveries refers to their region of origin; cf. Figure 1).

              Ringing recovery data demonstrate that despite largely overlapping wintering, migration and breeding ranges, there is substantial migratory connectivity between particular Eurasian Curlew populations. Eurasian Curlew wintering in UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands comprise both local breeders, but also birds which breed in Finland and Russia (Figure 5).

              Figure 5. Eurasian Curlew weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is western Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              While Figure 5 shows movement between wintering Eurasian Curlew in the UK and France to northern Europe, the reverse can be seen in Figure 6. Eurasian Curlew first ringed in northern Europe, primarily originating in Finland as breeding birds, spend the winter in coastal area of the East Atlantic, primarily in the UK and France with some in Belgium and the Netherlands. Ringing data also clearly demonstrate that in July and August, Denmark is a staging site on autumn migration for birds originating from northern Europe.

              Figure 6. Eurasian Curlew weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is northen Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              In contrast, Eurasian Curlew ringed in central Europe comprise multiple different populations (Figure 7). Birds originally ringed in central Europe appear to be either migrants or local breeders. Some winter in Eastern Atlantic coastal areas and breed in central Europe, primarily Germany. Other individuals are likely captured on their migration to breeding locations in Russia. Some Eurasian Curlew are captured in south-central Europe only in March, and are thus likely migrants wintering on the North African Mediterranean coast and breed either in central Europe or are captured on their migration to breeding sites in northern Europe.

              Figure 7. Eurasian Curlew weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is central Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              Results for Common Redstart

              EBP data show that Common Redstart are a typical Afro-Palearctic migrant, and do not start appearing in southern Europe until early March (Figure 8). By early April, birds have reached the UK, the Netherlands and northern Germany, and by late April and early May occur as far north as northern Scandinavia. Birds begin disappearing from northern Europe throughout July and August on autumn migration, and there are few records of Common Redstart anywhere in continental Europe after mid October.

              Figure 8. Common Redstart weekly animated occurrence map based on EBP data.

              The majority of individuals were ringed in West, Central and Northern regions (Figure 9). As with Eurasian Curlew patterns are difficult to grasp in the animated map combining all recoveries (Figure 10) but those focussed on each of the three regions with the most data (western, central, south-central and northern regions of Europe) reveal some more interesting patterns of movement that could not be discerned from the observational EBP data alone (Figures 11-14). We do not discuss migration through the eastern Mediterranean here, as there are too few EBP and ringing data from this region.

              Figure 9. Locations of  first encounter of Common Redstart recoveries (the colour of the recoveries refers to their region of origin; cf. Figure 1).

              Figure 10. Common Redstart weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries (the colour of the recoveries refers to their region of origin; cf. Figure 1).

              While the EBP data show Common Redstart migrating in spring and autumn through both Iberia and Italy, ringing recovery data demonstrate that these birds originate from different populations. Common Redstart first encountered in northwestern countries in Europe (UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands) migrate almost exclusively through Iberia, with very few ringing recoveries in Italy on either northwards or southwards migration (Figure 11).

              Figure 11. Common Redstart weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is western Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              In contrast, a few individuals first encountered in northern or central European countries migrate through Italy, though the majority from both regions appear to migrate through Iberia in both spring and autumn, and move on to return to breed in either northern or central Europe A few individuals first encountered in central Europe were clearly migrants which breed in northern Europe (Figures 12-13). 

              Figure 12. Common Redstart weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is northen Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              Figure 13. Common Redstart weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is central Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              On the other hand, the majority of Common Redstart observed in Italy appear to be birds which both migrate through and breed in this region, though a few individuals encountered here do migrate to central or northern Europe (Figure 14).

              Figure 14. Common Redstart weekly animated map combining occurence EBP data (yellow dots) and EURING Databank recoveries whose region of origin is south-central Europe (cf. Figure 1).

              Future opportunities

              Here we have adopted a very simple approach to explore how EBP data on year round variation in occurrence might be combined with data on marked birds to show the year round movement patterns of different populations. A more comprehensive analysis would need to take account of a number of additional variables including the time of year when birds were marked, spatial variation in recovery probabilities and the potential for differences in movement patterns between age and sex categories. Despite these limitations the results are encouraging, demonstrating clear differences in population-specific movement patterns that can be linked to overall variation in occurrence.

              The Eurasian African Bird Migration Atlas will provide a first opportunity to develop some of these ideas further. In the medium term we look forward to large-scale quantitative models that will provide robust assessments of population-specific movement patterns by combining large-scale occurrence data of the type gathered by EBP with data on individual and population-specific movements from ringing, tracking and other data sources.

              A contribution by: Samantha Franks & Stephen Baillie (BTO)

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