Training workshop on International Census Plots (ICP) and on-line portals


The participants of the workshop in front of the Institute for Vertebrate Biology

In November (22nd-25th) Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO) organised a training workshop on on-line portals and International Census Plots (ICPs) in Brno (at the Institute for Vertebrate Biology).

The training workshop was held after the regular EuroBirdPortal (EBP) meeting and workshop on EBP data flow, which lasted for two days (20th-21st of November). The aim of the training workshop was to introduce the partners of the LIFE EBP Reinforcement Project to the concept and methodology of the standard bird monitoring and ICP, as well as structuring and running a national on-line portal. In total, 20 participants from 12 European countries have attended the training workshop.

The topics of the workshop were divided into four main parts. The first part was led by Petr Voříšek from CSO and focused on questions while setting up a standard bird monitoring scheme, and explanation of the concept and methodology of the ICP, along with the subsequent data management and data checks. Because each country within the project will not have the capacity to start a full-grown national bird monitoring scheme, the idea is to collect the data with the same methodology across countries, which will then be placed into one dataset in order to produce a regional index of population change. Hopefully, with time, the capacities of the countries will increase, and they will have a good starting point for their own national bird monitoring scheme.

Petr Voříšek, from CSO, talking about setting-up a standard bird monitoring scheme

Within the first day, representatives from Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro have presented their own pilot work in starting a monitoring scheme and various issues and challenges they are facing. The main common issue shared across the partners is lack of skilled volunteers for bird monitoring. For example, in Moldova there are currently 10 people doing the pilot monitoring work, in Serbia around 30 people, and in Montenegro some 3 people have joined the pilot scheme. Within this project, a large part will be dedicated in trying to increase the interest of people and their fieldwork capabilities to establish a bigger network of volunteers.


Representatives from Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro presenting their own experiences with bird monitoring

The second part was led by colleagues from Catalan Ornithological Institute (Gabriel Gargallo, Marc Illa and Xavier Riera) and was focused on establishing national on-line portals, from setting up a portal to recruitment of observers and keeping them interested to managing and checking the on-line portal data. It was important to go into details of each section regarding the on-line portals as participants from the key countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) will establish their own national portal as a part of the project and will be responsible for its set-up and long-term running. One part that might be helpful in assembling all issues at one place is the update of the Best Practice Guide that should be produced by the end of 2024.


The colleagues from the Catalan Ornithological Institute lead the section of the workshop on online bird portals 

Third section was presented by Anna Staneva from BirdLife Europe, Alena Klvaňová from CSO and Gabriel Gargallo from ICO about the policy relevance of the data collected through on-line bird portals and standard bird monitoring as well as its implications in science and research. Similarly, more local case studies have been presented from Romania, Spain and Czech Republic in order to serve as an inspiration of what could be done. The section ended with the discussion on local needs of partners and their respective issues and challenges within the framework of national policies.

Finally, we ended the workshop with a day in the field by going through the ICP methodology and different ways of entering the data directly into various applications in the field. Even the cold weather did not stop the enthusiasm of the participants that they will surely transfer to others in their own respective countries. We hope that this project will be an excellent starting point for the partners to increase their capacity and slowly start to develop a larger interest into bird observations and standard bird monitoring within their own countries.

Not even the cold weather stopped the fieldwork session

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