EuroBirdwatch 2016 – observing millions of migratory birds

October 1, 2016 8:48 am

SONY DSCAt this point of the year, millions of migratory birds are leaving Europe flying to their wintering places in Africa. BirdLife International invites people in Europe and Central Asia to take the opportunity on the weekend of 1 and 2 October 2016 to discover the fascinating world of bird migration.

This year, 36 national partners of BirdLife International in Europe and Central Asia, including BirdLife Malta, invite people to observe migratory birds and hear interesting facts about bird migration and the threats they face during their journeys. People will find observation and information posts where everyone can share knowledge on migratory birds and their flyways. In Europe many hundreds of activities are planned.

In Malta, the activities related to EuroBirdwatch 2016 started on Saturday 24 September when the Migration Festival organised by BirdLife Malta started with a birdwatching afternoon at Laferla Cross in Siġġiewi. Plenty of educational activities kept the little ones entertained during the event. The Migration Festival continues today 1 October at Tal-Bosk in Buskett between 15:00 and 18:00 where the magic of migration shall be celebrated with a photography exhibit including a presentation from a local nature photographer, family activities and a guided birdwatching walk through Malta’s only woodland. The last of our Migration Fest events takes place the following week, Saturday 8 October at Għadira Nature Reserve. This will be a rare opportunity to visit the reserve during the closed season. Between 10:00 and 16:00 two family exploration sessions will be held. Attendance is by booking only. The first session will take place from 10:00 to 11:30 and the second will take place from 11:30 to 13:00. From 13:00 the nature reserve will be open to the public for the day, with no need to book.

A study conducted by BirdLife International and published in 2015 shows that 25 million (!) migratory birds are being caught around the Mediterranean annually. And after overcoming that huge hurdle, most birds still have to cross the unhospitable Sahara desert and other dangers along the way, twice a year. BirdLife partner organisations in the countries involved are making it their top priority to combat this useless killing for which there is no excuse.SONY DSC

For the migrating bird species the existence of suitable breeding areas in the north, saving stopover sites and a safe passage on the flyway, and appropriate habitats in the wintering regions are therefore vitally important. The aim of EuroBirdwatch 2016 is to raise awareness for the wonders of bird migration and the needs of the migratory birds on the breeding areas, the flyways and in the wintering areas in the Mediterranean and in Africa.

The EuroBirdwatch is an annual event comprising hundreds of nationally organised activities. On these observation posts the number of birds and participating people are counted and reported via the national centres to the European centre. Last year, 41 countries in Europe and Central Asia took part in organising 1,093 events, with more than 32,000 people turning out to watch and help count the birds, of which more than 5 million individuals were observed!

In 2016 the event is coordinated by BirdLife Switzerland which is acting as the European Centre to process the data collected in all participating countries.

For further information on the EuroBirdwatch visit

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.