This month sees the start of the most extensive coordinated census of waterbirds in the Baltic Sea. This is a huge undertaking requiring coordinated aerial and ship surveys during the limited weather windows available during the Baltic winter. It is also of huge significance because the Baltic Sea is of immense global importance for wintering waterbirds. Among many other important waterbird populations it supports most of the worlds Long-tailed Ducks and Velvet Scoters, both of which are globally threatened.
This census will provide us with much needed up-to-date statistics on the status of these waterbirds for the first time since the census carried out in 2007-09 for the SOWBAS project. It is being funded by HELCOM and undertaken by University of Life Sciences (Estonia), Aarhus University (Denmark), SYKE (Finland), Kiel University (Germany), Latvian Ornithological Society, various institutes in Poland and Lund University (Sweden).
Also for the first time, coordinated surveys will be undertaken in other marine areas of northern Europe –
the coasts of Belgium, Netherlands and the German North Sea, providing the most comprehensive assessment of European seaduck population sizes to date. Unfortunately coverage of all parts of northern Europe has not been possible for this census, so this remains a key need for the next time this census is carried out.
For further information please visit the HELCOM website.