Birds as Biological Indicators

Langzeitige großräumige (internationale) Datenerhebung von Vögeln als Indikatoren für Umweltveränderungen

To protect our environment it is important to recognize environmental hazards as early as possible and to do this it essential to use species which are in particular sensitive to environmental threats. Birds are in general appropriate species for such a purpose. To investigate the effect of environmental pollution and habitat changes will be investigated on a bird community level. Another aim of this study is to increase the environmental sensitivity and knowledge regarding environmental problems of school pupils and inspire their scientific interest. Schools should become cooperation partners in a long term scientific investigations with the aim to collect scientific data important for bird and forest ecology. Within this study pupils should take over the data collection whereby the teachers are responsible for the continuity and constant quality of the data, which in turn is achieved by their training by the scientists. Essential in this study is to achieve a long term affect. The intensive cooperation with the Gymnasium Sacré Coeur has already demonstrated how significantly a bird study can benefit by the help of a school. Local politicians have already agreed to financially support the project over a longer period (five years). Aim is to establish a long term basic financial support to cover e.g. master theses and material costs for all schools involved. The supervisor for the students will be the scientist involved and the students can assist the teachers as well as the pupils and they can also substitute when e.g. holidays or other school activities may prevent the scientific work of the pupils. The long term direct cooperation with the scientists is to our opinion necessary, because to keep science and pupils minds sparkling, it needs continuously new ideas to be interspersed.

The most important scientific aim of this study is to identify and determine which ornithological parameters can be used (are comparable) and collected by schools in a reliable and reasonable way, long term as well as simultaneously (across schools - three schools are involved at the moment). This long term data sampling should also include parameters investigating the predator-prey interactions (birds-insect-plant interactions) under the impression of climate change. Effects of environmental pollution will be particularly investigated regarding plumage characteristics of birds.

This project has been completed.