Welcoming event for aquatic warblers in Lithuania

On the first weekend of summer (June 3rd), people gathered in Nemunas river delta situated in Lithuania to greet Aquatic Warblers. These birds are considered to be one of the most endangered bird species in Europe. The site of the Nemunas river delta is often regarded as heaven for birds, and people can listen to romantic bird concerts in the sunset and possibly see them.

Moreover, the participants could find out more about the species during this event. The environmentalists told interesting stories about the globally endangered Aquatic Warbler, which is currently brooding in 5 countries. Also, they explained how to tell apart these rare birds from other similar species and informed how every person could contribute to their conservation. Furthermore, participants could taste local snacks made from the ingredients growing in the meadows of the Nemunas river delta.

Additionally, people had a possibility to participate in a totalisator game to guess the population of Aquatic Warblers to be counted this year. There were 25 participants in the totalisator and most of their predictions about the population of the species were positive. The winners of the game will be announced mid July when population estimates will be determined after two countings.

Last years results of population counts: positive tendencies in Lithuania but not in other countries

The population of Aquatic Warblers is determined based on the number of singing males. Last year there were 247 males counted, while in 2015 there were 150. The fluctuation of Aquatic Warblers population is illustrated in the graph below.

The director of Baltic Environmental Forum, Žymantas Morkvėnas emphasizes: “We should keep in mind that in spite of the increase of Aquatic Warblers in Lithuania, the biggest brooding sites of this species are in Belarus, Ukraine and Poland. However, the tendencies there are threatening, as Aquatic Warblers population is still decreasing”.

Find out more about the population of Aquatic Warbler in other countries.

Totalizator results

During the homecoming event for Aquatic Warbles local residents and other participants of the event were guessing the population numbers of the species. Only 5 people guessed that the population has decreased. While other guesses were predicting positive results.

After the event, Baltic Environmental Forum has encouraged other supporters of Aquatic Warbler to participate in the totalisator. After adding the results it turned out that only 7 people thought that there will be a decrease in Aquatic Warbler population, while other guesses predicted positive trends (see figure below). The highest bid was for 652 singing male birds, while the lowest reached 125. The mean value of all the guesses was 282.

The population is estimated twice

The population of Aquatic Warblers is conducted twice: in the beginning of June and July. Usually, the second estimate is higher. “It is unclear why after second estimation we count more Aquatic Warblers. Our guess is that they might be coming from Kaliningrad. Therefore, we are planning to go on expedition there and search for brooding places of these birds” – says ornithologist Žydrūnas Preikša, who has been researching Aquatic Warblers for 20 years.

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