The number of migratory birds from Europe to Türkiye continues to decrease due to the increasing influence of climate change.
Ornithologist Ömer Döndüren: “28 wetlands in Türkiye, mainly Izmir, Manisa, Aydın and Muğla, are seeing droughts. We don't see many ducks this year because of the rising temperature; these birds spend their winter in Europe and immigrate to Türkiye's south later.”
Bird watchers have studied bird populations in 28 wetlands in Izmir, Manisa, Aydın and Muğla, which are home to waterfowl with rich life resources.
Within the scope of the Mid-Winter Waterfowl Census (KOSKS), work is being carried out in the designated areas with the participation of nongovernmental organization (NGO) members and volunteer bird watchers under the coordination of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the 4th Regional Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks and the Hunting and Wildlife Branch Directorate.
Hasan Paşalı, a bird expert and coordinator for the Midwinter Waterfowl Census, worked with Döndüren to carry out bird surveys in 28 different wetlands, including the Gediz, Bakırçay and Güzelhisar deltas, Izmir Bay, the Gölmarmara and Bafa lakes, the Aegean region Aydın's Büyük Menderes Delta, and Baldırmaz and Köyceğiz lakes in southern Muğla province.
They found out that flamingos come to the fore in the Gediz Delta, which has the status of Wildlife Protection Area and Natural Protected Area and has applied to be declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
“Unfortunately, we have been observing this more clearly, especially in the last two to three years. Some of the wetlands in Türkiye have dried up. The harsher the winter in Europe, the more birds there will be in our country. Because as the weather gets colder, the birds migrate south. Especially duck species, geese, swans, such birds head to warmer areas,” Döndüren said.
Paşalı explained that they have been watching the waterfowl population and the changes in wetlands for many years, and the censuses were carried out in January and February when the birds arrive in the swamp. It was observed that seasonal migration is low, Paşalı noted, also pointing out that the International Wetlands Institution organized the studies.
“A sum of 178,174 birds from 77 species in 28 wetlands was recorded last year. At the same time, 228,031 birds from 80 species were counted in 2021. When you look at it, you see that the number has decreased in terms of species and bird numbers. We also noticed that some species did not come due to the hot weather in Europe and northern regions. Therefore, we observe the impact of global climate change on wetlands and species here,” Paşalı maintained.