EuroBirdPortal releases an online viewer that follows birds on the move across Europe


Yesterday, in the framework of Bird Number 2019, the EuroBirdPortal (EBP) releases the LIVE version of its viewer: now up-to-date bird movements that take place across Europe are just one click away.

The LIVE EBP viewer shows the distribution of 105 bird species on weekly animated maps spanning from January 2010 up to the current week. This is an unprecedented development in European ornithology and a landmark in the mobilization of citizen science data. 

The whole content is updated on a daily basis with the information collected by the EBP partner's online bird portals: c. 120,000 new bird records per day (c. 45 million new bird records every year).

A EU LIFE grant has made possible the mobilization of such a huge quantity of information in near real-time thanks to the development of the new central EBP database repository and an automatic data-flow system that connects 15 different online bird recording systems (99.2% of the whole EBP data) with the central database. Following Swallows and Cuckoos as they undertake their journeys through Europe is now a reality.

The EBP viewer was launched in 2015 and aims at showing the scope and potential of the project depicting the week-by-week distributional patterns of bird species using a total of nine types of species maps and climatic variables. Since two animated maps of any type and year can be selected to be shown simultaneously for direct comparison, all in all, currently more than 50 million different map combinations are available to choose from.

Gabriel Gargallo, EBP project coordinator, said: “Bird movements have always fascinated people. Where are the swallows now? Can I expect to hear my first cuckoo soon? With the LIVE EBP viewer, we are very happy to be able to show bird movements across the continent, freely accessible to anyone and in near real time.


Moreover, thanks to the huge improvements in coverage, data quality and connectivity accomplished with the EU LIFE grant, now we have better data, vital to properly understand the seasonal patterns of bird distribution in Europe and their changes over time, and it is readily available, providing unique opportunities to develop novel applications of conservation and management concern (for example, predicting wildfowl movements due to cold spells or improving the surveillance of avian-borne diseases).


All this would not be possible without the 120,000 volunteer birdwatchers regularly sharing their observations with the different online portals. The LIVE EBP viewer is a recognition to their vital role in the project and showcases how such individual and local contributions can be summed up to help unravel the large-scale seasonal distributional patterns of our birds."