Protandry, or the arrival of males prior to females to the breeding grounds is a widespread phenomenon in migratory birds though rarely examined in related species in which its manifestation can vary. European Stonechat and Whinchat are such a pair studied with use of individual marking in North-Eastern Ukraine in 1993–2008. An apparent protandry was found in Whinchat but not in European Stonechat. The difference between the arrival dates of male and female Whinchats (6 days) was significant. The mean time span between territory establishment by a male and subsequent pair formation was 10.6 days. By contrast, 38% of the first records of European Stonechats in spring were those of already paired birds and the difference between arrival dates of both sexes was non-significant. The proximate cause of protandry in Whinchat and its’ absence in European Stonechat seems to be the differences (or the lack thereof) in the onset of spring migration. The time lapse between the start of migration of male and female Whinchats originates at African wintering grounds and is maintained en route. The absence of the protandry in European Stonechat is probably a relict behaviour from the residency. The protandry in migratory populations of this species is yet to be developed.
In 2010, an attempt was made to quantify bird species breeding in the Opava Mts. and their foothill (c. 135 km2, including c. 40 km2 [31%] of forests). The area is situated in the extreme south of Opole Silesia, SSW Poland. For most non-passerine species, total counts were made for the whole area (distribution of their breeding pairs is shown on maps), while for most passerine species, semi-quantitative studies were conducted. A total of 116 breeding and two probably breeding bird species were recorded. Changes in breeding avifauna of the area during the years 1880-2010 are also analysed based on literature search. A total of 134 breeding bird species were recorded over the 130 years. During the years 1990-2010, decreae in numbers has been evidenced for the following species: Perdix perdix, Tetrastes bonasia, Tyto alba, Athene noctua, Corvus frugilegus, and Nycifraga caryocatactes, In the same period, increase in numbers has been documented for species such as: Accipiter gentilis, Falco tinnunculus, Columba oenas, Jynx torquilla, Dryocopus martius, Picus canus, Picus viridis, Motacilla cinerea, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Saxicola rubicola, Locustella naevia, Locustella fluviatilis, Corvus corax and Corvus cornix. Opava Mts. and its foothills constitute an imporant conservation area. Fifteen species listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive of the E.U. were recorded there, including a sizable population of Ficedula albicollis.
Due to numerous bird surveys in the past 20 years, the avifauna of Goričko is relatively well known. For some species, the very first national ecological researches were conducted in this area. The article summarizes all bird surveys so far. It presents population trends of farmland species which is one of the most threatened bird groups in Europe. Most of the qualifying species of this habitat that are protected within the Natura 2000 network have suffered a decline at Goričko, specifically Quail Coturnix coturnix, Scops Owl Otus scops, Hoopoe Upupa epops, Woodlark Lullula arborea and White Stork Ciconia ciconia. The number of breeding pairs of the latter has not changed, but its fecundity has decreased. Furthermore, populations of other farmland bird species have decreased, for example Skylark Alauda arvensis, Stonechat Saxicola rubicola, Serin Serinus serinus and Common Linnet Linaria cannabina, as well as butterfly populations and tracts of grassland habitat types. National agricultural and nature conservation policies are evidently inefficient in protecting the biodiversity of Goričko. The most probable cause for bird population decline is agricultural intensification, which manifests itself at Goričko as disappearance and intensification of meadows, land consolidation, degradation of traditional orchards and use of pesticides. As a result of land consolidation hedges, uncultivated strips between fields, individual trees and bushes and minority habitat types are disappearing, whereas the surface of arable fields is increasing. Nature conservation measures performed by the Public Institute Goričko Nature Park with the support of DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia volunteers seem to be efficient, but are spatially and temporally constrained. For this reason, they cannot serve as a substitute for insufficient systemic financing which could be improved by substantive and financial reform of the agri-environmental scheme. Currently, a negligible percentage (1% in 2016) of Goričko is covered by agrienvironmental scheme measures with positive influence on qualifying species and habitat types. As a consequence, only an insignificant share of subsidies from the Rural Development Plan is used for nature protection at Goričko. If the system of agricultural subsidies remains unaltered, no improvement of the conditions for bird conservation at Goričko can be expected.