Midwinter Waterfowl Census in Bulgaria Registers Higher Numbers Compared to 2021

Midwinter Waterfowl Census in Bulgaria Registers Higher Numbers Compared to 2021

January 23 (BTA) - The results of the Midwinter Waterfowl
 Census in Bulgaria are in. The numbers are higher compared to
last year's edition, with 90 different species represented by
206,688 fowl, said the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of
Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB).

The 46th edition of the census in Bulgaria took place between
January 13 and 16. Forty-two teams made up of experts and
volunteers from the BSPB, the Executive Environment Agency, the
NGO Green Balkans, regional inspectorates of environment and
water, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, hunting associations
and NGO members collected data from more than 200 wetlands.

Similarly to previous years, the highest numbers of birds were
registered along the Black Sea coast and close to the larger
inland reservoirs. Relatively few species and low numbers were
spotted along the Danube, due to the high water at the time of
the census having flooded the sandpits, which normally tend to
attract thousands of birds. Although many reservoirs and
fishponds were frozen, the census registered higher numbers of
waterfowl compared to 2021.

The campaign counted 5,851 greater white-fronted geese and 32 of
 the endangered red-breasted geese. In 2021, the numbers for the
 two species were 2,017 and 48 respectively, while in 2020 they
were 3,300 and 322. The highest number of red-breasted geese in
Bulgaria, over 54,000, was registered in 2013.

The three most numerous waterfowl species in 2022 were the
mallard (43,165 birds), the Eurasian coot (28,514 birds) and the
 endangered common pochard (26,206 birds). With just over 90 per
 cent of the collected data processed so far, the total number
of waterfowl is put at 206,688. The two previous censuses
counted 190,147 birds in 2021 and 226,636 in 2020. These numbers
 are by far lower compared to 404,410 waterfowl counted in 1999
and 652,418 in 2000.

The red-breasted goose and the common pochard were just two of
the globally endangered species. The census also counted two
velvet scoters, four horned grebes, 1,112 white-headed ducks and
 1,490 yelkouan shearwaters. The more curious findings included
a black-backed gull, a great white pelican, nine ferruginous
ducks, 849 Dalmatian pelicans, 17,550 pygmy cormorants, 84
Pallas's gulls and 173 ruddy shelducks. Twenty-nine white-tailed
 eagles, a species listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria, were
 also registered.
The BSPB and their partners observed birds that typically do not
 winter in Bulgaria. They included a squacco heron, 31 little
egrets, 11 white and 18 black storks, two Sandwich terns and one
 common tern.

The Midwinter Waterfowl Census has been conducted in almost all
European countries since 1967 and involves more than 15,000
people every year. /DT/NZ

Source: Sofia