A new reference work in the field of environmental monitoring
The evolution of the distribution of Swiss breeding birds is a reflection of our relationship with nature and the environment. This atlas presents the distribution of breeding birds over a period of 60 years and documents the many changes in population density and altitudinal distribution since 1993–1996.
Switzerland is home to more than 200 species of breeding birds that require a diverse range of habitats and structures. The evolution of breeding-bird distribution is therefore a good measure of landscape change and its effects on nature. Many anthropogenic changes progress at a rapid pace. The effect on the distribution of many species is dramatic, as the two previous Swiss breeding bird atlases based on field surveys in 1972–1976 and 1993–1996 have already shown. Since the last atlas, the pace of landscape change has accelerated, and with it the impact on the distribution of certain bird species, as revealed by the Swiss Ornithological Institute's various monitoring projects. They document, for example, the decline of once common species like the Eurasian Skylark. In recent decades, the effects of climate change on the distribution and abundance of several species have intensified.
What are the consequences of increasing building development on the Central Plateau or the renewed spread of forests in the Alps? Did the introduction of ecological compensation measures in agriculture halt the decline of farmland birds? What impact does climate warming have on bird communities – have southerly species become more common, as predicted? In our time, it is more important than ever to find answers to these questions. The answers and findings provide guidance on how to manage our natural environment and landscapes, and show us what adjustments are necessary to our current actions.
Documenting long-term and short-term changes
The Swiss Ornithological Institute's declared aim is to document the distribution and population numbers of all breeding birds in an atlas every 20 years. The 2013–2016 atlas is the third in this series. Together with the «Historical Atlas of Breeding Birds», which documents the distribution of breeding birds in 1950–1959, it allows us to illustrate changes in distribution over a period of 60 years. Following the 1993–1996 atlas, this is the second atlas to provide information on population density, and the first to analyse changes in density. The thinning out of breeding populations while distribution remains largely unchanged – observed or at least suspected in many areas – has now been documented for the entire country for the first time. Such quantitative data helps to answer questions on the effects of biodiversity promotion areas or the altered composition of forests. In addition, we have the means today to conduct more detailed analyses of altitudinal distribution.
The 2013–2016 atlas compiles the following main results for all breeding bird species in Switzerland and Liechtenstein:
- distribution (10 × 10 km grid) as well as the change in distribution compared to 1950–1959, 1972–1976 and 1993–1996
- density or occurrence probability (modelled for 1 × 1 km) and its change since 1993–1996
- altitudinal distribution and its change since 1993–1996
- national population size
Tremendous volunteer effort
Birds fascinate us with their colourful plumage and their song, which is why there are many qualified and experienced ornithologists. The Swiss Ornithological Institute is extremely grateful for the commitment of its volunteer observers – by investing countless hours of work mapping territories, counting colony breeders, or searching for rare and secretive species, they made a decisive contribution to the success of this atlas. The more than 2300 surveyed kilometre squares were selected at random and are therefore representative. Besides farmland and woodland, surveys were conducted in city centres, residential and industrial zones, and areas of bare terrain far above the tree line, but also in extremely species-rich habitats like alluvial forests or wetlands. Not all places were the kind one would normally choose to birdwatch. But when it comes to the atlas field surveys, normal is not a term that applies! During the four field seasons, collaborators visited areas that are rarely explored by ornithologists. We are very grateful that we were able to draw on this extraordinary pool of expertise and extend our warmest thanks to the many fieldworkers whose dedication made the atlas surveys possible.
Important data source for future research
We have high expectations for the 2013–2016 atlas: like its predecessors, it will become a standard work of reference in ornithology and bird conservation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It lays an indispensable foundation from which targeted conservation measures for endangered birds can be developed. The results provide a basis for future work, for example for the next revision of the Red List of threatened birds in Switzerland. To ensure access to the results for everyone who is interested, the Swiss Ornithological Institute devoted a lot of effort to making the findings available online in four languages (www.vogelwarte.ch/atlas). The field surveys for the 2013–2016 breeding bird atlas have given a fresh impetus to ornithology in Switzerland. We hope that this collaborative effort, which was only possible thanks to the support of more than 3000 ornithologists from all parts of the country, will excite a fascination for birds in as many people as possible.
Gemäss den Corona-Regelungen des Bundes bleibt das Besuchszentrum bis am 28. Februar 2021 geschlossen.
Unsere Vogelpflegestation funktioniert wie gewohnt weiter. Vögel nehmen wir täglich (Montag-Sonntag) von 09.00-12.00 und von 13.30-17.00 Uhr entgegen.
Aufgrund der verschärften Corona-Massnahmen sind unsere Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter grösstenteils im Home Office. Bitte haben Sie Verständnis, wenn wir momentan nicht alle Anfragen sofort bearbeiten können. Wir sind Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie uns primär per Mail kontaktieren, ausser in Notfällen.
Herzlichen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.
Ihre Schweizerische Vogelwarte Sempach
Informations sur le coronavirus
Selon les mesures de la Confédération contre le coronavirus, le centre de visite sera fermé jusqu’au 28 février 2021.
Notre station de soins fonctionne normalement. Nous réceptionnons les oiseaux tous les jours (lundi-dimanche) de 09.00 à 12.00 et de 13.30 à 17.00.
En raison des mesures Covid plus strictes, la plupart de nos employés télétravaillent depuis leur domicile. Nous ne sommes actuellement pas en mesure de traiter toutes les demandes immédiatement. Nous vous serions reconnaissants de bien vouloir nous contacter principalement par courrier électronique, sauf en cas d'urgence. Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension.
Votre Station ornithologique suisse de Sempach
In conformità alle misure della Confederazione contro il coronavirus, il Centro visite è chiuso fino al 28 febbraio 2021.
Il nostro Centro di cura per uccelli continua a funzionare normalmente. Gli uccelli vengono presi in consegna giornalmente (lunedì-domenica) dalle 09.00 alle 12.00 e dalle 13.30 alle 17.00.
A causa delle misure più severe di Corona, la maggior parte dei nostri dipendenti si trova nei loro uffici di casa. Vi preghiamo di comprendere che non possiamo elaborare tutte le richieste di informazioni immediatamente. Vi saremmo grati se poteste contattarci principalmente via e-mail. In caso di emergenza, tuttavia, siamo naturalmente a vostra disposizione. Grazie per la vostra comprensione.
La vostra Stazione ornitologica svizzera
Informations concerning the coronavirus
Due to the measures taken by the Swiss government against the coronavirus, the visitor centre will be closed until February 28th 2021.
Our bird care station continues to operate as usual. We accept birds daily (Monday-Sunday) from 09.00-12.00 and from 13.30-17.00.
Due to the stricter Corona measures, most of our employees are in their home offices. Please understand that we cannot process all inquiries immediately. We would be grateful if you could contact us primarily by e-mail. In case of emergency we are of course available for you. Thank you for your understanding.
Your Swiss Ornithological Institute