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Report on the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme, June 2012

The report summarizes the activities of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) from December 2011 to June 2012. Main achievements include updated and published European indices and indicators in June 2012. The results have been promoted in the leaflet as well as on the website. The successful PECBMS workshop for all co-workers was held in February 2012 in the Czech Republic.

European species trends, indices and indicators
Updated European indices and indicators has been just published on the EBCC website. The indices and indicators cover time period 1980 – 2010. All outputs are also promoted through the leaflet ´Population Trends of Common European Breeding Birds 2012´; the leaflet can be downloaded in pdf. This year we have increased the number of common birds for which we publish the trends and indices to 148 species including 3 new species. The indicators presentation has been newly improved by adding an extra information on species trends included in each indicator and specifying the numbers of species in each indicator which are moderately or steeply declining (declining), moderately or strongly increasing (increasing), stable and uncertain.

PECBMS workshop
The fourth PECBMS workshop was held in Mikulov, Czech Republic from 6 - 8 February 2012. The workshop goals were to bring together all national coordinators and other co-workers as well as policy experts for discussions on the usage and development of common bird indicators, on the potential increase of species and regional coverage or on the new research directions. The aims of the workshop were also to revise the project outcomes after the 10 years of its existence and outline its future directions. Outputs of discussion will be used in project long-term planning. Based on the anonymous workshop evaluation, we can conclude that the workshop was well appraised by the participants and they got new ideas for their own work in coordinating monitoring schemes. All presentation and conclusion of discussions are freely available on http://bigfiles.birdlife.cz/ebcc/PECBMS_workshop2012/PECBMS/.

Birds in Europe 3
The kick of meeting of the BiE3 project has been held in Mikulov, Czech Republic, right after the PECBMS workshop on 9 - 10 February by the reason that participants of both meeting highly overlap and the projects´ aims have close connections. Report on the Birds in Europe 3 kick-off meeting is available here. The BiE3 project aims to produce the third comprehensive assessment of the status of all European birds and it will be implemented by a consortium consisted of several organisations and led by BirdLife International.

Detectability in a design of monitoring schemes
An issue on how the detectability is addressed in the design and data analysis of the monitoring schemes around the Europe has been investigated by a questionnaire distributed among scheme coordinators and other partners. Preliminary results of the 25 replies to the questionnaire show that majority of schemes do address the detectability in the scheme design in some ways but only a minority of them assess the detectability in the data analysis afterwards. So far, none scheme has assessed the detectability in production of population indices at routine basis, however, two schemes have explored this and have been working on it.

Updates of the PECBMS website
A website section Use of PECBMS results has been updated. The section brings the concise overview of the use of the PECBMS results in both policy and science. The complete list of scientific paper based on the PECBMS results can be found and the papers are available to download. In connection with the publication of new indices and indicators, the website sections Methods and Questions&Answers has been updated as well. All previous articles on the Methods as well as the previous presentations on species trends and indicators, or the PECBMS publications (brochures and leaflets) are available in the PECBMS Archive.

Assistance to countries
Important part of our work consists of helping to other countries with improving their monitoring schemes and providing assistance on various methodological issues. For example, we assisted to Bulgaria on improving a database of monitoring data, helped with new sampling of monitoring scheme and calculation of indices in Greece, or discussed sampling design and improvements in methodology in the Czech monitoring scheme.

Population trends and indicators for species characteristics for other habitats
A pilot version of common bird indicators for inland wetlands and boreal forests have been introduced and discussed at the PECBMS workshop. Further investigation is needed as well as acquiring more species for the indicators. The different approach how to select species for European forest bird indicator based on a risk assessment of forest birds have been introduced by Simon Butler (University of East Anglia) at the PECBMS workshop as well. This approach, which will be considered in furher development of bird indicators, suggests selection of species for the indicator based on linking the resource availability to population dynamics of the forest species.

Project funding
Previous 3-year grant from European Commission just finished at the end of June. Further funding support by the EU institutions is under negotiations.

Acknowledgements
We are grateful to all who have contributed to the project, particularly coordinators of national or regional monitoring schemes, BirdLife Partners and EBCC national delegates.

Our thanks go to thousands of volunteer ornithologists across Europe as well!

Great help in data analysis and development of new tools is provided by Arco van Strien, Adriaan Gmelig Meyling, Tom van der Meij, and Tomá¹ Telenský.

Members of the Steering and Technical Group, Richard Gregory, David Noble, Ruud Foppen, Arco van Strien, Ian Burfield and Zdeněk Vermouzek, contributed by many valuable suggestions and comments. We also thank to Adrian Oates, Sue Robinson and Norbert Schäffer for their help and support.

The PECBMS is a joint project of the European Bird Census Council and BirdLife International, supported by the European Commission, Directorate General Environment, and by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The sole responsibility lies with the author of this article and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Contacts
Project coordinator: Petr Voří¹ek, PECBMS, Czech Society for Ornithology, Na Bělidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic, phone +420 257212465, e-mail: EuroMonitoringbirdlife.cz.
Technical assistant: Jana ©korpilová, PECBMS, Czech Society for Ornithology, Na Bělidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic, phone +420 257212465, email: skorpilovabirdlife.cz.
Project manager: Richard Gregory, Head of Species Monitoring and Research, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, United Kingdom, e-mail: richard.gregoryrspb.org.uk.

29 June 2012

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