A development of new bird monitoring schemes, as well as a need for improvements of existing schemes, brings an increasing need to use the highest level of scientifically sound methods for counting birds, analysing and presenting the data. Although general principles of bird monitoring are available in a form of textbooks and scientific papers, the information is scattered across many titles. Probably more importantly, there is much good experience and practice across Europe, which can be shared and used for development and improvement of monitoring schemes. Therefore, PECBMS, a common initiative of European Bird Census Council and BirdLife International, decided to bring together and publish a Best Practice Guide summarizing the principles of good bird monitoring including case studies from European countries documenting details of various aspects of bird monitoring.

The publication, which is a result of the common effort of 20 experts, particularly among those from the EBCC network, has just been published.

The Best Practice Guide is not intended to replace existing textbooks and methodological papers. The aim is to guide coordinators of schemes in designing and running a scheme in order to keep high methodological standards and avoid obvious mistakes. More detailed information can be found by readers in relevant literature.

The book has nine chapters covering planning a scheme, survey design and selection of sample plots or field methods, it tackles also the problem of bird detectability and distance sampling, data management and analysis, and principles and recommendations for using the results for nature conservation and communication. Case studies come from several European countries and cover subjects such as sampling design, field methods, working with volunteer fieldworkers, and setting up an on-line database. Final recommendations in a form of a list of ´things best to do´ and ´things best to avoid´ are part of the publication too.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the Best Practice Guide please contact the NHBS Environment Bookstore.

You can download an electronic version of the Best Practice Guide here (14 MB).