In order to be efficient in bird conservation, we base our work on scientific data that are being collected and analyzed on a regular basis. We monitor the trends of bird populations in order to identify species that need prioritized conservation measures. For example, through the monitoring of breeding pairs of Egyptian vultures we established that the species is in a dramatic decline and it can become extinct in the wild in Bulgarian in 30 years.
Through monitoring we can also find out whether certain measures we’ve taken for the conservation of a particular species give the expected results, or not. A good example is the imperial eagle – its population in Bulgaria is increasing thanks to conservation actions taken by the BSPB.
Every year we carry out monitoring on many endangered species. We collect detailed data about the occupied nests and the number of young that hatched and were raised successfully. In this manner we gain current knowledge about what is happening to the particular species and we are able to identify new threats immediately. For some wide-spread species, for example the white stork, we organize a count every ten years. At least once a year we count wintering waterfowl during the mid-winter waterfowl count.
The monitoring of endangered species is a delicate process. If it is not carried out professionally, it can lead to chasing away the birds or to the loss of eggs or chicks. Our experts have extensive experience; many have a doctoral degree in zoology or ecology and have publications in recognized scientific magazines. To find out what is going on with common species of birds, we rely on a great number of amateur birdwatchers too. They are involved in the so-called common bird monitoring (CBM). CBM is an excellent example of an approach that is growing in popularity, namely – citizen science where data are collected by a wide range of non-professionals. We count on birdwatchers for the data for our Atlas of Birds too. In order to facilitate data collection for our volunteers, we created a specialized mobile application, SmartBirdsPro, and a data base, SmartBirds.