Population monitoring 

Scholekster | Harvey van Diek

The population dynamics of most bird species within the Netherlands are well monitored. To explain the changes in population number over time observations on breeding success, survival, migration and immigration is essential.  Such data is being gathered in the following projects; Mapping nests project, Constant Effort Site (CES) project and many others.

By analyzing the data in Integrated Population Models, key factors can be identified which explain the changes in observed bird counts.

In the future, Sovon will utilize this knowledge in collaboration with the Vogeltrekstation and various other research institutes and universities. 

Early warning

Together with the Birdlife, Sovon is working to integrate the data on the demographic and distribution of bird species. Once the changes in bird populations are better understood, it would be possible to identify the early warning signs for species in potential danger. Early warning signs are essential for conservation measures to be implemented in time. Other participants are the Radboud University and the Vogeltrekstation. Birdlife and NWO financially support this initiative. 


To model bird populations the following data is collected; breeding and mortality rates, as well as the immigration and emigration to a population. Such models can predict how the number and distribution will change depending on various conditions.

Sovon has worked on the development of population models for the Graylag geese, Greater white fronted geese, Oystercatcher, Greater white fronted geese, and Barn swallow. 



Climate change will have a large influence on the occurrence of many bird species. The scale of habitat fragmentation will be an additional complication. The exact consequences of fragmentation are not clear. Neither are the effective management and conservation methods that will be needed to mitigate in these circumstances. However, these questions are the topic of a joint Ph.D. of the Radboud University, Sovon, Vogeltrekstation, and Birdlife.