, 21 tweets, 31 min read Read on Twitter
Stoked to announce @ZooKeys_Journal published our @BatumiRaptors data paper! It explains how our #citizenscience project monitors the autumn #migration of >1.000.000 #raptors in the Eastern Black Sea Flyway, and how to use our #openaccess data @GBIF/@NLBIF! - 1/n

Many #raptors migrate primarily by thermal #soaring. To do so they travel by day and avoid high mtns and open sea. This leads to spectacular raptor aggregations in overland #flyways. One of the world´s largest raptor flyways occurs along the eastern Black Sea coast in SW Georgia.
The Eastern Black Sea Flyway has its narrowest point just north of #Batumi, where the coast and Lesser Caucasus form a clear "bottleneck". The mtns are not extremely high but present a significant barrier for #raptors on #migration due to low and dense cloud cover. @BatumiRaptors
The first full-season counts in the #Batumi bottleneck were conducted by @BatumiRaptors in 2008-2009. We recorded >800.000 #raptors per yr: a considerable part of the global population estimates for several species.

Article: bioone.org/journals/ardea…

(photo: Christian Gelpke)
The #birding community responded with great interest, and @BatumiRaptors set out to develop a protocol to #monitor the #raptor #migration at #Batumi long-term with volunteer counters. #CitizenScience!
We finally settled on two watch-points, Sakhalvasho and Shuamta, located on ridges ca. 2 & 6km from the coast. This allows @BatumiRaptors to cover the bulk of the #migration. Radio communication about #raptor #streams between the stations helps to avoid most double counts.
As we describe in our article in @ZooKeys_Journal all #raptors are recorded with time of passage and a distance zone relative to each count station. Based on this information the @BatumiRaptors team can remove suspect double counts post hoc. Yeah ... we´re a bit #perfectionist
Until 2010 we recorded all data on paper. We later switched to palmtops using software provided by @FundacionMigres and in 2015 @BatumiRaptors rolled out a fully digital data recording and management scheme using the @trektellen app! Highly recommended to all #vismig counters!
In the past our count coordinators calculated daily totals for each station at the end of each day and manually entered these in @trektellen. Since we use the app, however, we got automated daily updates of seasonal totals and daily counts on the @BatumiRaptors our website!
The count data in @trektellen are what we call "raw data", uncorrected for possible double counts and erroneous entries. To avoid mis-use of data by 3rd parties @BatumiRaptors started preparing the #openaccess publication of a clean dataset after our 10th anniversary in 2017.
With help of DuGOF we obtained a grant from @NLBIF to make our data accessible through @GBIF!

With >370,000 records collected in 2008-2017 @BatumiRaptors #opendata provide a benchmark for monitoring Eurasian #raptor populations in the 21st century.

Our @ZooKeys_Journal article offers a detailed description of @BatumiRaptors -@GBIF dataset and pitfalls for users. For example, #harriers and #eagles are particularly hard to ID. In the paper we explain how to account for this to estimate daily and annual species totals. #vismig
Besides #monitoring we believe our data will be useful for basic research into #raptor #migration behaviour. Indeed, we collected a wealth of information regarding age, sex and plumage of birds @BatumiRaptors, like this juvenile and adult #HoneyBuzzard (photo: @barthoekstra)
We recently completed our first analyses of #trends in abundance and demography of 8 common #raptor species @BatumiRaptors. This revealed interesting population dynamics in our flyway! The paper is still in review, but we hope to share results with you this spring! #ornithology
The migration counts are also an important vehicle for #conservation in the region. @BatumiRaptors raised the profile of #Georgia as a #birding and #ecotourism destination, and local authorities are increasingly investing in quality infrastructure for birders. @visitbatumi
The most pressing #conservation issue for #raptors is illegal #hunting. Using observations and interviews @BatumiRaptors, @SABUKOGEORGIA and others have tried to quantify the impact of illegal hunting and to identify the motivations of hunters.

Article: batumiraptorcount.org/news/2017/4/ne…
Being a mostly international organisation @BatumiRaptors doesnt want to create conflict with local hunters/communities. Our long-term strategy against raptor shooting is to stimulate #ecotourism and to use #migration counts as an #education platform for the new generation!
The #monitoring and #conservation of @BatumiRaptors is a labour of love by 100s of volunteers from across the world and wouldnt have been possible without the incredible #hospitality of our hosts Ruslan Lomadze, Merabi Dilaverov, Elza Makharadze, their families and neighbors.
If this got you pumped to participate in @BatumiRaptors: we are looking for motivated #volunteers for our 12th autumn #raptor #migration count in 2019! Experience with #vismig counts is a plus, but not needed. We want to offer a nice learning experience for novice counters too!
If you are a student don´t hesitate to reach out if you are interested in doing a #research or #conservation #internship with @BatumiRaptors!

And if you like and want to support our work, please consider donating here:
Little treat to end this thread: a short video showing what mad #raptor #migration looks like @BatumiRaptors 👇

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