Every year, during the first weekend of October, EuroBirdwatch takes place all over Europe and Central Asia comprising of hundreds of nationally organised activities held by many BirdLife partners.
During EuroBirdwatch, nature conservation organisations encourage people of all ages to join these events, observe, explore and enjoy birds and discover the world of bird migration. The number of birds and participating people are counted and reported via the national centres to the European Birdwatch Centre 2015, which for this year was Vogelbescherming Nederland, a BirdLife Cyprus partner in the Netherlands.
This year, over the past weekend, more than 24,000 people took part in more than 1,000 events in 41 countries in Europe and Central Asia. All of these people (both adults and children) enjoyed watching the migration of 4.3 million birds heading to their wintering grounds in the South. The most frequently observed species were the Common Starling, the Chaffinch and the Common Coot. In order to survive, migratory birds need good breeding conditions in the North, safe stopovers along the flyway and good conditions in the wintering areas.
In Cyprus, BirdLife Cyprus organised three events on October 4, 2015 attended by 93 participants in total, the highest number of EuroBirdwatch participants in Cyprus so far: 60 at Athalassa Park, Nicosia; 17 at Akrotiri Peninsula, Limassol and 16 at Pafos Plain, Pafos. The total number of birds observed in Cyprus during that day was 3,666 with the most numerous species observed being the Barn Swallow (over 2,000 individuals, mainly at Akrotiri Peninsula) followed by the Bee-eater and the Red-rumped swallow.
The most exciting observations of the weekend were a White Wagtail observed at Pafos Plain, a Leucistic Barn Swallow observed at Akrotiri Peninsula, in Limassol and a Squacco Heron in Athalassa Park, in Nicosia. In total, 72 species were observed in Cyprus during that day.
With these events, the nature conservation organisations encourage people of all ages to go out, observe, explore and enjoy birds. The sheer numbers of birds recorded during this EuroBirdwatch clearly show that bird migration is an awesome phenomenon and drives home the point that birds and their migratory routes and stopover sites need to be protected.