Wadden Sea Breeding Birds at Risk

Latest trends in breeding bird numbers show that 2/3 of all internationally monitored species breeding in the Wadden Sea have declining numbers. The trend over the past ten years even indicates that the rate of decline has recently accelerated, e.g. in species like Oystercatcher, Avocet, and Arctic Tern. Breeding birds like Ruff, Dunlin and Common Snipe are now on the brink of extinction. If the current negative trends continue, more species are threatened to disappear from the Wadden Sea. e.g. Hen Harrier.

On 18 April breeding bird experts and conservation managers of the Wadden Sea countries Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany came together at the International Wadden Sea workshop “Breeding Birds in Trouble”. Aims of the workshop were to identify the most pressing issues, discuss causes, solutions and consequences and take initiative to develop an action plan, which will give practical advice on proper management of specific breeding bird species and their habitats. The workshop stated that in many species, a low breeding success is a major cause for the declining numbers. Reasons are diverse, but many species face predation and flooding, in combination with, depleted food stocks, disturbances, changes of habitats and specific local reasons. According to the experts the most promising and practicable measures against further declining of breeding bird species are restoration of the natural water regime in grasslands and saltmarshes for meadow birds, reduction of the negative impact of predators on Wadden Sea islands and limitation of disturbance in important breeding areas.

Recommendations and the action plan developed by the workshop will be forwarded to the 12th Trilateral Governmental Wadden Sea Conference in Denmark, February 2014.

The workshop was initiated by the Joint Monitoring Breeding Bird Group in the framework of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation.

For further information, please contact: Gerold Lüerßen, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, +49 4421 9108 16 or luerssen@waddensea-secretariat.org