The new monitoring of common breeding birds in the wider countryside of Germany
This is not exceptionally new, but might be of interest for bird monitors. The full article (in German) can be downloaded here
Mitschke, A., C. Sudfeldt, H. Heidrich-Riske & R. Dröschmeister 2005: The new monitoring
of common breeding birds in the wider countryside of Germany – monitoring sites, field
method and preliminary results. Vogelwelt 126: 127 – 140.
Common and widespread breeding birds are probably among the best indicators of the effects
of large scale changes in agricultural and land management practice on wildlife. The German
Common Birds Census (GCBC), which is conducted by the Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten
(DDA, Federation of German Avifaunists) since 1989, yields trend data and allows analysis
of the factors affecting these trends. GCBC is based on territory mapping and point counts.
Because of observer’s free choice of plots and routes, nearly a quarter of the common species
shows significant differences in annual changes or overall trends of the index curves derived
from the two different field methods (FLADE & SCHWARZ 2004). In order to overcome these
biases due to geographical and habitat representation, DDA started in 2004 a new monitoring
scheme based on a stratified randomised sampling design using land cover (ATKIS, Amtliches
Topographisch-Kartographisches Informationssystem) and abiotic characteristics for classification.
The latter are previously combined to ‘land classes’, which reflect natural regions and
landscapes. The procedure determining 1,000 monitoring sites (1 km2 squares) of national
interest was similar to that given by the nation-wide Ecological Area Sampling approach and
was developed in co-operation with the German Federal Agency for Statistics and the Federal
Agency for Nature Conservation. Skilled volunteers have been surveying the plots (420 in 2004,
626 in 2005) during four visits per breeding season (10 March to 20 June). Along a squarespecific
route of nearly 3 km length, the survey aims at locating as many as possible occupied
territories (simplified territory mapping method) of every diurnal avian species occurring in a
square. This paper discusses the new approach of monitoring common breeding birds in Germany
in the context of a nation-wide monitoring for nature conservation in the wider countryside.
Preliminary results are given.