As winter arrives, it brings along various species of birds that are travelling from different parts of the world, migrating from their origin to seek better food resources, nesting areas, and climate conditions that correspond to changes in their environment.
Due to the collective anthropogenic impacts worldwide, which have accumulated overtime since the industrialisation period in the 19th century, climate change has become a stressor to the environment, causing changes that are beyond the natural processes ability to recover from, causing knock-on effects towards all living organisms that need to adapt or evolve to survive these circumstances.
There are many dangers for migrating birds, as they are more vulnerable to predator, illegal or trophy hunting, and require a physical and mental aptitude to travel across countries and even continents to find a settlement with adequate resources.
Archipelagos’ Terrestrial Team are tasked with the continuous monitoring of these visitors, to identify and observe the abundance of each individual specie, that are using Samos as a stopping point or breeding grounds at this time of year.
The aim of this task is to maintain a consistent stream of data, that would be used to compare documented bird populations, to indicate population change over time, and address the disappearance and emergence of different bird species.
We carry out bird surveys on a weekly basis to record and understand any changes in the species and population in the area. Wetlands and salt marshes are used as our study areas, as the rich biodiversity and ecosystem provide plentiful food for many species that are both native and migrating.
Psili Ammos wetland is our main study area, as the salt marsh attracts many exotic species, such as the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), which usually settle in this marsh during the winter time. We will also soon proceed with further studies in Mesokampos Marsh and Glyfada wetlands.
With this data, we can show any changes in bird populations, which can later be brought attention to as it can notify us the current state of the world and what our actions have led to the rest of the species occupying this planet.
Shyheim Akpan, BSc Environmental Science
Bournemouth University, UK