Bird counts

Bird counts, as long as they are counted with firm guidelines, will deliver accurate and objective data on the number and distribution of bird populations. Factual material that:

  • Determining threatened species for the Red List
  • Indicating areas which require (extra) protection
  • Identifying the population size for a species
  • Providing a data based solution for situations with conflicting arguments
  • Fundamental scientific research

Surveying : Practical and fun
Bird watching is a popular hobby. The surveying of birds goes one step further as it costs more effort and determination. However, it is worth it as the hobby is taken to the next level and bird watchers observe beautiful moments. Counting and enjoyment can go hand in hand, so it is not surprising that some bird enthusiasts have been counting on projects for decades

Census projects
Thousands of volunteers count birds throughout the year and thereby supporting the research of Dutch bird populations. Based on the data gathered in the various monitoring schemes, Sovon can determine which bird species are growing or declining in number. This is the scientific basis for the nature conservation and management in The Netherlands. Sovon publishes the most important results in the yearly ‘Vogelbalans’ report.   

Count with us!

There are censuses during every season throughout the year. The requirements of time and expertise vary per project, so whether you are a beginner or you have been counting for years, there is a project for you too


Every census project has its own method of surveying birds. With the implementation of standardized methods, is the comparison of yearly count results more accurate.  The different methods are clearly explained in each project’s manual.


For bird counters with less experience, Sovon works with regional groups of birdwatchers to provide special classes.   

Sovon offers classes for bird counters, regional groups of volunteers and professionals. For a number of our census projects, we can provide a class. Other options include providing self-study material and online courses such as Bird ID to test your knowledge.