© Zornitsa Petkova

An international census of wintering Dalmatian pelicans on the Balkan Peninsula took place in late November and mid-December. The purpose of the census is to collect data on the number and distribution of endangered Dalmatian pelicans in the study area. The study was conducted in two stages. A census was conducted at the end of November in the Western Balkans – Western Greece, Albania, and Montenegro. In the period December 10-12, wetlands in Bulgaria and Romania were visited. The event is organized within the project “Pelican Way of LIFE”.

© Михаил Илиев

© Mihail Iliev

Teams from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) also joined the international initiative. They visited the wetlands of the greatest importance for the wintering Dalmatian pelicans in the country – the Danube River, Burgas Lakes, Ovcharitsa Dam, Rozov Kladenets, Studen Kladenets, Varna Lake, and others.

A total of 1469 Dalmatian and 48 Great white pelicans were counted in Bulgaria. Most Dalmatian pelicans were observed in the area of ​​Atanasovsko Lake near the city of Burgas – 1103 individuals, along the Danube River between the town of Tutrakan and the village of Popina – 132 individuals, and in the Rozov Kladenets dam – 93 ind. Our team also found Great white pelicans – 48 ind. in Lake Burgas.

© Свилен Чешмеджиев

© Svilen Cheshmedziev

The data collected will contribute to better knowledge and implementation of conservation activities for the Dalmatian Pelican in Southeast Europe. Cross-border cooperation is key to the conservation of this species.

The actions for protecting the Dalmatian pelican are carried out within the project “Pelican Way of LIFE” (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and with the assistance of the Whitlеy Fund for Nature.