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Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
avinews
Birds
Winter Mountain Bird Race 2018 (L'Oiseau-Course d'Hiver d'Altitude = OCHA)

This very special Bird Race was invented by our younger birder colleagues from the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Groupe des jeunes de Nos Oiseaux). This event is THE ornithological and social event you shouldn’t miss this winter!

The main idea is to record a maximum of bird species in the middle of the winter during a 24 hours period but … only above 1000 m above sea level!

Here the rules:

  • The 2018 "race" will take place on one of the following weekends: 27th-28th January, 3rd-4th February or 10th-11th February 2018.
  • Each group is composed of at least two persons who will remain together during the whole race. Each and every bird species must be observed by at least two members of the group.
  • Only the bird species observed above 1000 m above sea level are eligible. (It’s a Swiss Race but highly motivated birders are allowed to take part everywhere else in the world!).
  • As soon as the 24 hours period starts, only displacement with muscle power is allowed (on foot, by bicycle, skis, snowshoes, skateboard, row-boat ...). No car, no public transportation.
  • A cheese fondue meal has to be organized among the participants in the evening before the race starts (Saturday evening).
  • At the end of the "race", the organizer (henridescombes@hotmail.com) will receive from each group a short report with a commented list of species.
  • Participate at your own risk!

More information can be found here.

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Saturday, December 30th, 2017
avinews
Birds
We wish you a Happy New Year!

Ornitho.ch and the whole ornitho family can look back with pleasure and a great debt of gratitude to another very successful year. In our 10th year, more than 1.6 million sightings were submitted to ornitho.ch in 2017. This is about 10% less than in the top-year 2016. However, as the field work of the breeding bird atlas had come to an end, this modest decrease had to be expected. The last months were again well above the number of records of the previous year. Today, ornitho.ch can count on 13.7 million of sightings and more than 400,000 pictures!

In my position of head of the swiss and international steering group of “ornitho” I would like to thank Gaëtan Delaloye and his “Biolovision”-crew for their tireless efforts. Furthermore, I am very grateful to the regional coordinators for their meticulous controls. The support of the Swiss Ornithological Institute must be acknowledged too: its important financial and human commitment allows the continuous development and improvement of “ornitho” far beyond the borders of our country, resulting in a spectacular increase in the ornithological activity. Since this year, Croatia is a new member of the ornitho-family (www.fauna.hr). In many parts of Europe such an increase would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Last but not least, a big thank to all the collaborators and photographers for their commitment and for the huge amount of high-quality data that have been submitted to ornitho.ch.

I wish you all a birdy, healthy and carefree 2018!

Hans Schmid

Head of the Ornitho International Steering Group

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Friday, December 29th, 2017
avinews
Birds
Second “Wintering White Stork Census”

The migratory behavior of the White Storks has been subject to important changes in the last years and decades. An increasing number of storks does no longer migrate until West Africa for the winter but stays in the south of Spain. In Switzerland too, more and more White Storks are staying there for the winter.

On 6th January 2018 the second “Wintering White Stork Census” will take place in Switzerland. This census should allow us to measure the changes in the behaviour of the White Storks and identifies the areas of importance for a successful wintering.

We need your help to record the White Storks overwintering in Switzerland.
 
Goal of the project:

Monitoring of the wintering population of White Storks (quantity and distribution).

Method:

On 6th January 2018 the White Storks should be monitored in all areas of Switzerland from 15: 30 until dusk. The data are collected in collaboration with the Swiss Ornithological Institute and regional organizations. The collected results are used for further evaluations.

a) Count the White Storks (with binoculars).

b) Submit your sightings on ornitho.ch. Indicate the number of ringed and non-ringed birds and give also details about ring type (metal or black plastic) and any visible markings you may read.

c) Should you want to try to read the ring markings with a telescope, make sure you do it after having counted the Storks. (Unpacking and setting up a telescope could disturb the storks and make them fly away).

More information on www.storch-schweiz.ch

Thanks in advance for your help!

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Thursday, December 21st, 2017
avinews
Birds
10 years anniversary for ornitho: over 120 million sightings!

Ten years old and indispensable: bird enthusiasts can report their observations made in Switzerland on the online platform ornitho.ch. The Swiss project is so successful that it became an export hit too and is now used in 8 large and 5 smaller countries of Europe for Citizen Science projects. In total, more than 120 million sightings have been recorded on the different ornitho platforms across Europe. With such a basis, changes regarding the avifauna can be recognized very fast - an irreplaceable basis for bird conservation.

This media release was published in French and in German and is available here. More information can also be found in the status report recently published by the Swiss Ornithological Institute.

Best regards,

Sophie Jaquier

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Monday, December 18th, 2017
technews
Birds
EuroBirdPortal with new viewer

The EuroBirdPortal is improving! The viewer has recently been updated and new countries like the Balkan Countries, Turkey and Israel are now part of the project. Here you find an example for the Common Crane. From now on the data of 2016 are also available. The new viewer has now a zoom function and can display the seasonal appearance of two species in direct comparison. The countless display options can also be shared easily. You can find more information in the following video here or in the press release here. The EuroBirdPortal can also be reached directly via a link on the homepage of ornitho.ch. The data collected on each ornitho platform is directly transmitted (in coarsened form) to EuroBirdPortal.

Your ornitho.ch-team

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
avinews
Birds
Communication of the Swiss Rarities Committee

The Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC) has published the minutes of its last meeting, held on 7 November 2017, on the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src). Among the reports accepted during that meeting are the 2nd record of Eleonora’s Falcon, the 4th and 5th records of Trumpeter Finch, the 6th and 7th records of Greenish Warbler, the 12th and 13th records of Spectacled Warbler, the 12th record of Lesser Spotted Eagle since 1900, the 14th record of River Warbler, the 14th and 15th records of Chiffchaff with characters of the subspecies Phylloscopus collybita tristis, the 14th and 15th records of Lesser Kestrel since 1900, the 17th record of Richard’s Pipit, the 18th to 20th records of Black-winged Kite, the 21st and 22nd records of Black-headed Bunting, several records of White-winged Tern (8), European Roller (5) and Lesser Grey Shrike (4), as well as the 1st breeding record of Subalpine Warbler in the Grisons (in 2012). In addition, the category of some records of Cinereous Vulture has been revised.

In order to facilitate its administrative work, the SRC recommends to send the rarities reports and photographic proofs as soon as possible and if possible in electronic format (preferably as Word file) to the following address: sak@vogelwarte.ch. The form can be downloaded from the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src-downloads). Please send us reports about observations of 2017 by 10 January 2018 at the latest, so that the SRC can examine those reports in time.

The SRC thanks you for your collaboration and wishes you many interesting winter observations!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
tipnews
Birds
How to document a sighting?

Some sightings are marked with a yellow triangle and an exclamation mark. Such a symbol means that the sighting is unexpected and needs to be documented more precisely. It may be related to a rare species, an unusual date or an unusual observation site.

The main goal of documenting a sighting is to produce a detailed description of what you have observed:  Each and every evidence concerning the size, appearance, feathering, calling, song, behaviour, the observation conditions, and diagnostic criteria eliminating similar species are needed. Additional proofs like pictures, drawings, video sequences and sound recordings are most welcome. Such documentation is to be done using the official rarities homologation form, which is then sent to the Swiss Rarities Committee (sak@vogelwarte.ch) with the additional proofs. This expert group assesses whether the sighting is correct and sufficiently documented or not to be taken into account in the scientific literature. Sightings accepted by this committee are additionally marked with a green hook behind the yellow triangle.

If such a bird remains in the same place for many days, it is not necessary to describe each and every observation in detail. Yet it is very important to document the first and the last observation date as well as the different individuals present during that time if more than one individual is present. In the normal case, the person who discovered the bird is responsible for the sighting documentation.

An insufficient documentation is the most frequent reason for a sighting to be rejected by the Swiss Rarities Committee. In almost all such cases the description is too poor or even missing. Sentences such as "I know this species very well", "the song was typical" or "the bird was identical to the one pictured in my identification book" are definitely not part of a description. Insufficiently documented observations are not taken into account at all, in any scientific studies. They are marked with a red exclamation point and remain visible only for the person who submitted it, yet not for the other users of ornitho.ch.

In order to guarantee a long term quality of the data published on ornitho.ch, we need you to document your unusual observations as completely as possible. Keep in mind to send your documentation as soon as possible to the Swiss Rarities Committee. Thanks in advance for your commitment on ornitho.ch!

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Sunday, October 1st, 2017
avinews
Birds
International Vulture Watch Days

The 12th International Bearded Vulture Watch Days are taking place between the 7th and 15th October 2017, with a main focus on Saturday 7th October. This event is organized by the “Pro Bartgeier” Foundation, in close collaboration with the Swiss Ornithological Institute. Now think about going out and plan an alpine hike to look for bearded vultures! You will find more information here.

We wish you every success!

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Thursday, September 21st, 2017
avinews
Butterflies
Small but powerful!

It does not weigh much more than a feather and reaches a wingspan of only a few centimeters. And yet it crosses the mountains and the seas, defying wind and weather. It is the Red Admiral! With its red banded and white spotted black wings this migratory species is unmistakable among European butterflies.

Autumn migration of the Red Admiral is in progress. Please record your Red Admiral observations through www.ornitho.ch! Every observations helps the citizen science project investigating the year-round dynamics of the Red Admiral butterfly in Europe, run by researchers of the university of Bern.

For more information about the project click here.

Many thanks to everyone recording Red Admirals!

 

Marco Thoma, Insect Migration & Ecology Research Group, Institute of Ecology & Evolution, University of Bern

 

The research group on social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/insectmigration

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/insectmigration/

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Friday, August 25th, 2017
avinews
Birds
Topic of the month: Birders. These odd fish and their increasingly popular hobby

The Natural History Museum of Bern dedicates its September program to birders and their special passion. An exhibition and various exciting events are planned. By the way, the movie of Floh von Grünigen portrays many active contributors of ornitho.ch. The benefits of these events will help the development of the polish portal of ornitho (ornitho.pl). If you dare to have a look in the “mirror”, you should not miss this...!

posted by Hans Schmid
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