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Pertti Saurola

Abstract

In Finland, population monitoring for both diurnal and nocturnal raptors has been almost entirely based on fieldwork carried out by voluntary raptor ringers. Responsible organisations include the Finnish Museum of Natural History, with economic support for administration from the Ministry of Environment, “Metsahallitus” (former National Board of Forestry) and WWF Finland. Since the early 1970s, numbers and productivity of four endangered species, the White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Osprey Pandion haliaetus and Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus have been monitored by country-wide Comprehensive Surveys, with the aim of checking all known nest sites of these species every year. The Gyrfalcon F. rusticolus was included in this group in the late 1990s. Data for monitoring the populations of the other raptor species have been gathered by the Raptor Grid and Raptor Questionnaire projects. The Raptor Grid project produces annual population indices, which are calculated from the data collected from 10 × 10 km study plots (n = ca. 130/year) and quite well reflect the annual population fluctuations and longterm trends of seven common species of diurnal and six species of nocturnal raptors breeding in the southern part of Finland. For the rest of the species, which are either rare all over Finland or breed mostly in the north, outside the good coverage of the distribution of Raptor Grid study plots, conclusions on population changes are based on the total numbers of occupied territories and active nests reported annually by the Raptor Questionnaires

Open access

Al Vrezec, Guy Duke, András Kovács, Pertti Saurola, Chris Wernham, Ian Burfield, Paola Movalli and Irena Bertoncelj

Abstract

Despite the key role of raptors (including birds of prey Falconiformes and owls Strigiformes) in ecosystems and their sensitivity to environmental change, a well coordinated, Europe-wide monitoring of raptors is lacking. EURAPMON, a Research Networking Programme of the European Science Foundation, was launched with the aim of establishing a sustainable Europewide network for monitoring of raptors. An overview of current monitoring schemes for raptor populations in 28 European countries, as reported by EURAPMON National Coordinators at the workshop in Murcia (Spain) in 2012, showed existing monitoring schemes to be limited to a restricted number of species (mostly diurnal and rare raptor species). The most widely monitored species are the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos amongst diurnal raptors and the Eagle Owl Bubo bubo amongst owls. Broad coverage of a species range across Europe is reached only for restricted-range species. The key driver for monitoring, which is mostly coordinated by NGOs, is conservation, and the main end users are governmental institutions. International collaboration in the field of monitoring of raptors is mainly regional and not yet pan-European in scale. The involvement of volunteers in raptor monitoring was perceived as the main strength of many schemes, but insufficient manpower and a focus on rare species were recognised as the main weaknesses across Europe as a whole. Among priorities identified for the future development of monitoring schemes are: improvements to national coordination; support to increase the number of volunteers; and assurances of stable funding. Further analysis of EURAPMON questionnaires will identify knowledge gaps, which will steer good practice guidance on survey methodologies; the need for the latter was identified as the main benefit that National Coordinators expect to gain from international networking