ABOUT BIRD MIGRATION IN ARMENIA
Armenia is located at the crossroad of three global migration flyways of birds. Such position gives unique opportunity for the observation of the birds and study of their migration patterns. In the same time it also imposes responsibility and obligations for their conservation.
With that in mind we have determined three major aspects for our focus:
To implement monitoring and conservation of the migratory birds at the Critical Stopover Points.
To set up the Bird Ringing Scheme, contributing in global network development
To influence International Policy on Birds' Migration becoming part of Convention on Migratory Species.
WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW IS IT IMPLEMENTED?
Most of the Stopover Points of Ararat Plain are located in the working lands, which potentially causes conflicts between the land users and the migratory species. Taking that into consideration we focus on activation of the public attention to those critical hot-spots, as well as create a scientific justification for improvement of the conservation status of such lands. As part of it we also establish a constructive dialogue with land owners, revealing to them the potential of these territories from an angle of sustainable nature tourism. A relevant example of such an approach is the Armash Wetland Refuge.
Development of Bird Ringing Scheme in Armenia is the next important initiative for the global bird conservation and research, which also puts Armenia into international network. We have accomplished the pilot phase of ringing of Passerines on migration banding representatives of eight species, and developing the bird banding skills of our citizen-scientists. Now we will implement two sessions of bird ringing per year in fall and spring attracting also volunteers from abroad.
In frames of the third aspect we have already initiated by the negotiations with the Ministry of Nature Protection, which resulted in the arrangement that our organization will lead the process of signing the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) protocol, and later will represent Armenia in this agreement. Thus this two-year process was launched.
WHO AND HOW CAN PARTICIPATE IN THESE ACTIVITIES
The regular surveys of the birds on migration require constant presence at the Stopover Points, and although most of the counts have to be conducted by the observers with high-quality bird identification skills, there are always simple parts, which can be delegated to the beginners (e.g. count of easy species, such as Common Coots). Also there are two categories of work within the Bird Ringing Scheme: the high-qualification one, like bird measurements and the simple one, like making notes. That says that there are always places that require additional hands and everybody can be helpful in these works. The most important part is to become registered as the member of organization in order to pass the necessary training in species identification, bird handling, and working with data collection protocols.