Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Bird watching summer volunteer programme cancelled after Junta withdraws part of its support

Data collected serves to measure climate change
TARIFA (Agencies) The Migres Foundation, a non profit organization, is dedicated to the observation, ringing, cataloguing and counting of bird migration across the Straits of Gibraltar. It counted heavily on volunteers to perform most of the field work, many of whom stayed at a youth hostel owned by the Junta. The hostel provided board and keep but the Junta has withdrawn the grant that made this possible. Nevertheless, experts and volunteers have been able to maintain two of the foundation's four observation points, an important fact that has allowed them to keep watching the thousands of birds that cross from Europe between June and September to winter in Africa. Sources at Migres>>>PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU WILL SOON BE UNABLE TO READ THE REST OF ITEMS SUCH AS THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE SUBSCRIBED. Subscription information will be available soon.>>>
say that they will be able to keep counting at the post at Cazalla for the whole season and at Algarrobo from August 25 to October 10.

The information gathered from the Migres observations, called the Migres Programme, is considered to be the most important of its kind in Europe, not only for the number of participants but also for the significance of the data accumulated over the years. As an illustration, the foundation last year received 460 applications from volunteers, many of which came from such distant places as the US, Argentina, Italy, Israel, Dominican Republic, France, Portugal and Lithuania.

The volunteers add up to some 14,000 hours of observation at all four of the foundation's stations, when all four are in operation.

One of the most crucial objectives of the Migres Programme is to detect and analyse changes in bird migrational habits, which elicits information about their state of conservation and, perhaps more importantly, about the influence of climate change in their behaviour.

The Migres Foundation was created in 2003 with the support and encouragement of the Junta de Andalucía. It not only gathers the data described above but is also a forum for experts and enthusiasts, who come together at different times of year, though usually and majorly at events organized locally such as one we reported here on the old JimenaPulse, back in 2008.

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