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Over 100 Volunteers and Experts to Count Waterbirds Wintering in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and the Executive Agency for the Environment are organizing a count of waterbirds wintering in Bulgaria from January 12 to 15, BSPB reported. Over 100 BSPB volunteers, members and partners in more than 40 crews will work in the count. They will visit all major water bodies in Bulgaria.
Bird counts will be conducted during the same four-day period in almost all countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In Bulgaria, the effort will cover over 200 wetland areas, including the bank of the Danube River, the Black Sea coastline and all dams, fish farms and rivers in the country’s interior where waterfowl spend the winter. The crews will register the number, the species and the distribution of the birds.
Bulgaria is a preferred wintering area for a number of waterfowl species. These include species inscribed on the World Red List such as the horned grebe, the red breasted goose, the lesser white-fronted goose and the white-headed duck. Unseasonably warm weather in the last few days of 2022 drastically reduced the number of geese wintering in Bulgaria, BSPB said.
Regular counts of wintering waterbirds were launched internationally in 1967. This is one of the largest-scale events related to nature conservation, involving 15,000 experts and volunteers. It makes estimates of the condition of waterfowl populations and the places where they spend the winter, which are often part of the Natura 2000 network of European protected sites. The count covers 25,000 wetland areas in more than 100 countries.
In Bulgaria, the partners for the count are the Executive Agency for the Environment, the Balkani Wildlife Society, the Bulgarian Ornithological Centre, the Green Balkans Federation, the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, the Persina Nature Park Directorate, the Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park Directorate and the Central Balkan National Park Directorate. The Ministry of Environment and Water is also playing a major role in the count.
In October 2022, BSPB published data about the most common bird species in Bulgaria for 2005-2022. The data show that insectivorous birds are among the most vulnerable in Bulgaria and are decreasing more rapidly than granivorous birds. Some of the fastest decreasing species are the barn swallow, the house martin, the calandra lark, the quail and the house sparrow.