Monitoring is how we keep track of how Nature is doing (…). There is much at stake, and monitoring is too important to be relegated to the backwaters of science. It demands the same attention to design, data quality, analytical rigor, and objective interpretation that are the fabric of mainstream science. And it should merit the same respect.


John A. Wiens *

The words of Professor John Wiens are well known and valued by all ornithologists committed with the aims of EBCC. During the past 50 years, the former International Bird Census Committee (IBCC), European Ornithological Atlas Committee (EOAC) and from 1992 onwards the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) promoted and jointly organized with national delegates inspiring Conferences all over Europe with a common goal: increase our knowledge on bird abundances and population trends highlighting the role of birds as environmental indicators.

The message blossomed along the years and our current understanding on what is happening to our birds across Europe is huge. But the extent of threats they are facing is not smaller due to an unceasing pressure on European habitats that challenges biodiversity levels and human well-being.

The 21st Conference of EBCC called Bird Numbers 2019 aims to address these issues and endorse them to citizens. The theme of the Conference, counting birds counts emphasises the importance of bird monitoring for society and also underlines the running phrase of EBCC: every bird counts.

The Conference logo was designed by Tiago Navarro Marques (designer and professor at University of Évora) and we are very grateful to him. He kindly accepted our challenge for picturing  two species with different stories: the Woodchat Shrike and the Dartford Warbler, both occurring in Alentejo. The first is a LC species currently suffering a moderate decline in Spain and Portugal; the second is a resident bird classified as NT which is declining in Europe at a moderate rate and seemingly increasing in Portugal, a country that holds 25% of its European population.

The conference will take place at Colégio do Espírito Santo, University of Évora, an outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Building from the XVI century. Located in the city centre enclosed by its fortress wall, the venue is within walking distance from most hotels. The city is full of secret corners, monuments, traditional commerce and a vivid cultural agenda, offering varied leisure options.

Évora is located in the heart of the Alentejo, one of the most remarkable areas of SW Iberia spreading from the Atlantic coast to the border with Spain, and from river Tagus to the Algarve mountains. This is a breathtaking landscape that provides the perfect combination of a large scientific conference and a great cultural experience.

The awesome bird photos that illustrate this website are from several photographers that have kindly and enthusiastically agreed to give us their pictures. We are therefore grateful to Diogo Oliveira, Fer Goytre, Joaquim Antunes, Renato Bagarrão and Tiago Caravana!

The Organizing Committee welcomes you to the Bird Numbers 2019 Conference!

*Wiens, J. A. 2009. Is ‘monitoring’ a dirty word? Bulletin of the British Ecological Society, 40(2): 39-40.

Diogo Oliveira

“I am a biologist and have a Masters in Conservation Biology. In my childhood I travelled a lot in Portugal which gave me the chance to know some of the most beautiful areas of the country. In 2006 my life changed with the acquisition of an old Canon EOS 350-D and that was when I started photographing wildlife.

During the last few years I have been involved in some projects with several of my photos and recently published my first book, The Wildlife Guide of Tapada da Ajuda.”

Fer Goytre

“Nature and Photography are two concepts that define me. Nature came first, as a result of working as a field technician and professional ornithologist for years. Then Photography came, in which I was gradually getting more hooked on, until one day I realized I couldn’t get rid of it anymore.

Sometimes I spend a lot of time in it and often many resources, but Photography is always there. So while I’m enjoying it, I will keep on getting up early, going to bed late, staying in the cold, or walking a lot, just to continue discovering through the camera the nature that surrounds us.”

Joaquim Antunes

“I do nature photography particularly of birds, influenced by the richness and variety of the avifauna from Beira Interior. I am a member of several ornithology and bird studies organizations and carry on consulting in birdwatching. I have participated in individual and collective exhibitions and I have received awards for my photos which have been published in national and international magazines.”

Renato Bagarrão

“I was born in 1987 in the city of Lisbon and live in Tavira (Algarve) since my childhood. I hold a graduation in Marine Biology and a Masters in Aquaculture. I have an interest in avian biology and I was able to join my concern about birds with photography. Bird photography acquired a great consistency in my life from 2012 onwards. It is a hobby where I invest a lot of time with great dedication, due to the fascination and enthusiasm this activity provides.”

Tiago Caravana

“I was born in 1975 and have always being a Nature lover. I did birdwatching very actively in my teens and I have loved photography since then. My progress was slow, until February 2012, when I awoke to the artistic photography of wildlife, with the quality standards that I have always imagined. I entered a new world of knowledge, sensitivity and experiences, and I am learning and progressing day by day. If I could I would take a bit of time to photograph every day …

I am passionate about the Alentejo region where I live, its landscapes and biodiversity. My project is to capture the wildlife that can be found in this region of Portugal. I intend to capture the “soul” of the photographed animals through beautiful and intimate images, recording and publishing moments and species that live around me. I also hope to contribute to the awareness about nature conservation”.

Top Photo © Tiago Caravana

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