Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

No. 314: Birds 2012-2017. NOVANA

Nielsen, R.D., Holm, T.E., Clausen, P., Bregnballe. T., Clausen, K.K., Petersen, I.K., Sterup, J., Balsby, T.J.S., Pedersen, C.L., Mikkelsen, P. & Bladt, J. 2019. Fugle 2012-2017. NOVANA. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 264 s. - Videnskabelig rapport nr. 314. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR314.pdf


Since 2004, Denmark has systematically monitored the abundance of avian species that form the basis for the designation of the European Union Special Protection Areas (SPAs), under the National Monitoring and Assessment Programme for the Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment (NOVANA). The Birds and Habitats Directives require the designation of a network of SPAs as well as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), where both SPAs and SACs are being designated as Natura 2000 areas to protect designated species and habitats (including birds) that require special protection within the European Union. These areas contribute to maintaining biodiversity conservation at national and European levels.


The NOVANA avian species-monitoring sub-programme monitors the distribution and trends in population size of key individual bird species within Denmark to provide a basis for assessing their temporal trends in distribution and abundance, within and outside of the SPAs, to strengthen the evidence-based arguments for additional measures to improve the present status of the individual species.


NOVANA bird monitoring under NOVANA during 2004-2017 covered all of the regularly occurring bird species listed on Annex I of the Birds Directive and all of the migratory species that are also included in the formal designation criteria for one or more SPAs.


This report presents the results from the NOVANA monitoring programme during 2012-2017, including a review of all species based on these data.


As Denmark has reported a database to the EU Commission in 2019 under the requirements of Article 12 in the Birds Directive, the species reviews in this report have included information on the short-term and long-term trends of bird populations and changes in their distribution to the present day.


This report provides details of all the species monitored under the NOVANA programme, the results of which are summarized in easily accessible tables and charts in Fredshavn et al. (2019), which also provides additional information on a wide range of breeding species that are not monitored under the NOVANA programme.


During 2012-2017, 45 breeding bird species have been monitored under three monitoring programmes: Intensive 1, Intensive 2 and Extensive. The two levels of intensive monitoring monitor population sizes, while extensive monitoring monitors the distribution of species not specifically associated with Natura 2000 sites.


The Intensive 1 monitoring programme includes species occurring in or returning to known sites. Of the 20 species covered by the Intensive 1 programme, eight species are declining, e.g. avocet and dunlin, eight species are stable or fluctuating, e.g. spotted crake and wood sandpiper, while crane, spoonbill and two other species show increasing trends.


The Intensive 2 monitoring programme covers very rare species, irregular breeding species and species of unpredictable occurrence. Eight out of these 14 species covered show increasing trends, such as the red Kite and golden eagle, while black stork and tawny pipit can no longer be considered as breeding species in Denmark. The remaining species have stable or fluctuating populations.


The extensively monitored species are only monitored based upon data reported via the DOF (BirdLife Denmark) ornithological portal DOFbasen. None of the extensively monitored species have been shown to be declining during the period. Species such as nightjar and kingfisher, have been stable, while great horned owl and bluethroat have been increasing in numbers.


The report also presents data from the monitoring of 47 species of migratory birds, two of which are treated at sub-species level (bean goose and brent goose), hence a total of 49 taxa are presented.


Of these, 36 (sub-)species are monitored at mid-winter, where long-term trends in species numbers show that three species have been in decline (tufted duck, greater scaup and common eider). 15 species have stable or fluctuating numbers, eg mute swan, goldeneye, common and red-breasted merganser. 13 species are increasing, among others whooper swan, almost all species of geese, several species of dabbling ducks and smew. For seven species, status is difficult to assess, especially for distinct marine species such as divers, some of the marine diving ducks, and alcids. For all marine species, a subsequent modeling of data will be able to detect any changes more accurately. Many of the wintering species of waterfowl fluctuate in numbers, depending on the harshness of winter, with small numbers in cold winters and higher in mild years. This applies, for example, to bewick’s swan, several of the dabbling ducks and coot, although the latter seems to be in marked decline in recent years, despite relatively mild weather.


The results for several species that are monitored in seasons other than midwinter are also presented, where the waders in particular are the focus, as this species group, except for a few species, does not winter in the country. Most of the waders occur in fluctuating numbers, but avocet and dunlin appear to be in decline.


In late summer 2012, a nationwide moulting waterbird census was conducted, which is carried out every six years. The number and distribution of Mute Swans were roughly equivalent to those in the census in 2006, so we conclude that numbers have been stable over the period. The distribution of moulting sea ducks remained unchanged, although the numbers for several species showed slightly declines in abundance.


Autumn counts of dabbling ducks also exhibit stable or increasing abundance for the entire species group in recent years.

For the full Article 12 reporting, reference is also made to Fredshavn, J.R., Holm, T.E., Sterup, J., Pedersen, C.L., Nielsen, R.D., Clausen, P., Eskildsen, D.P. & Flensted, K.N. (2019). Size and development of bird populations in Denmark - 2019. Article 12 reporting to the Bird Protection Directive. Aarhus University, DCE - National Center for Environment and Energy, Scientific Report No. 363. 46 pp. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR363.pdf