Second bird census now taking place in Czechia: “We would never be able to collect so much data in such a short time”

10-01-2020

The second ever public bird census got underway in the Czech Republic on Friday. The citizen science project invites people to observe birds alighting on the feeders in their gardens or parks, identify the different species and send the findings to the Czech Ornithological Society’s website. Apart from popularizing ornithology, the project aims to collect as much data about the country’s common birds as possible.

Photo: Pixabay, CC0 Public DomainPhoto: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain I spoke to Alena Skálová from the Czech Ornithological Society and I first asked her whether last year’s observations yielded any surprising discoveries:

“The main surprise for us was how many people took part in the counting, because there were more than 14,000 participants.

“As far as the birds are concerned, the mostly recorded species were the great tits and sparrows, both house sparrows and tree sparrows.

“Blackbirds are also quite common, along with the goldfinch and greenfinch. And there are also magpies, which are easy to recognize and see.”

Photo: Barbora NěmcováPhoto: Barbora Němcová The bird census is a citizen science project, which invites the public to take part in a scientific research. How important is the involvement of the public in providing their observations?

“It is crucial, because without the public, we would never be able to collect that much data about birds in such a short time.”

Why does the census take place in January? Is it the time of year when birds most frequently flock on the feeders?

“Generally in winter it is easier to count birds with the public because during the season, there are not that many species, you are able to invite bird species close to you using the feeder. The exact time is coordinated with our colleagues from the Bayern Ornithology Society.”

So far, the winter season has been rather mild. Do you expect this will somehow affect the make-up of the birds on the feeders?

“It might happen that in milder winters, such as this one, fewer birds will go to the feeders because they have enough food in the nature.”

As you said, some 14,000 people took part in the project. How many people have registered this year so far? And why do you think the project is so popular?

The Czech Republic’s bird census takes place until Sunday. For more information, visit www.birdlife.cz/co-delame/vyzkum-a-ochrana-ptaku/vyzkum-ptaku/krmitka.

“So far, some 3,000 people have registered, which is the same as last year, because people are not requested to register in advance. So last year, only 3,000 people registered and 14,000 counted. This year we really hope that at least 4,000 people will be counting but of course we wish it will be more than that.

“I would say observation of birds, how thy fly to the feeder and communicate with each other, is much better than watching TV. For many people it is a well-spent time, why they can observe nature coming close to their home.”

10-01-2020