NATIONAL BIRD MONITORING
ABOUT BIRD MONITORING IN ARMENIA
Birds are known as easy detectable and identifiable animals that are sensitive towards environmental changes, which make them perfect objects for monitoring. Regular surveys of the birds in Armenia via standardized methodology were started in 2003 and continue up to date, with gradual expansion of the study area, moderate incline of the number of involved people, and significant increase of the data collected.
- To specify the species composition of breeding birds in Armenia, and the state of their populations.
- To determine the species composition and abundance of migratory birds.
- To assess the modern state of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
- To conduct regular evaluation of the state of game birds.
- To be a stable data source on birds in Armenia for the global scientific community.
- To involve local bird-lovers' community into national and international bird counts.
WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW IS IT IMPLEMENTED
The avian monitoring in Armenia is divided into data collection on breeding and migratory birds. The breeding bird surveys are implemented from late April till early June. To secure the uniform coverage of Armenia by this investigation, the country is divided into 374 squares (10x10 sq km each) in accordance to the Standard European Grid. Annual counts are usually covering 70-90 such squares, while the country's 80% becomes covered during every five-years period. The count can be aimed at all the species of the particular site or habitat, or to selected indicator species. The latest approach is applied, when there is a lack of human capacity, as in the Northern forestry sector of the country. The observations on migratory birds are usually done in two periods: from early March till mid May, and then from late August till late October. In Armenia, those are carried out at two major stopover points: Lake Sevan and Armash Wetlands.
There are two basic methods applied for the breeding-bird counts: timed counts (mainly aimed to track the species composition and distribution changes) and standardized transect counts (with main aim of following the population changes). The latest is usually conducted for terrestrial birds with uniform distribution, such as Chukars and Quails being surveyed in frames of Game Bird Monitoring. A modification of transect count is a point count, which is usually used for estimation of abundance of waterbirds, which make congregations, such as Ruddy Shelducks - the object of transboundary monitoring at the Lake Arpi and Javakheti National Parks.
WHO AND HOW CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE MONITORING
The monitoring itself is quite heterogeneous: multy-species surveys require deep knowledge in bird identification by appearance and voice, while the investigations of single prominent species require just following of the data collection protocols. Therefore, everybody can take part in this process and the only requirement is becoming registered as Member to receive the necessary training in species identification, data collection and input.