Turkish Breeding Bird Atlas: Call for Volunteers

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Turkey is one of the most fascinating countries in the Western Palearctic for birdwatchers. The location of the country at the crossroads of continents resulted in diverse habitat and bird species. Specialties and rarities include Yelkouan Shearwater, White-headed Duck, Purple Swamphen, Caucasian Black Grouse, Caspian Snowcock, See-see Partridge, Audouin's gull, Great spotted cuckoo, Brown fish-owl, Pallid Scops Owl, four species of Vulture, Rüppell’s Warbler, White-throated Robin, Krüper’s Nuthatch and Red-fronted Serin, to name only a handful.

Photo: Gernant Magnin.

In spite of its rich bird diversity, bird studies and conservation only started in the early 1990s. Some systematic survey work was done in smaller areas but the country as a whole was never covered. In 2014, Turkey was invited to be an integral part of the second European Breeding Bird Atlas (http://www.ebba2.info), and a group of dedicated Turkish birders is to undertake the coordination.

Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan by A. Al-Sirhan

Over the next three years, in collaboration with the European Bird Census Council (EBCC), breeding bird information of representative squares will be collected in Turkey. This study will shed light on the distribution and abundance of the breeding bird species and enable the improved bird conservation in the country.

Your help is needed to complete as many squares as possible in the coming years. Access to large parts of the country is still considered safe. If you are planning a birding holiday in next spring to Turkey and are willing to contribute your data, or even better, spend three days to count one square, please contact the Turkish Atlas Team kusatlasi@gmail.com

Main photograph: Kruper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi by Cenk Polat.