2024 Winter Waterbird Monitoring (IWC)

On January 13th and 14th, the traditional winter waterbird census will take place at a number of locations in Croatia. We invite volunteers to join us in this valuable international action, which leads to the implementation of numerous bird protection measures

  • 04.01.2024.

The Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection, Biom, Zeus, and Geonatura Associations invite all bird and nature lovers to join the traditional international winter waterbird census (IWC) in January 2024.

January is the time when migratory birds are on their wintering grounds. Waterbirds choose unfrozen bodies of water for the winter, and it is the optimal time to count them as they are least likely to relocate. Counting ducks, geese, and other animals is a substantial job, but thanks to volunteers worldwide, including those in Croatia, valuable data on bird populations has been collected for many years. Since the launch of this international initiative Wetlands International in 1967, the gathered data on waterbirds abundance in certain areas helps to identify internationally significant wetlands. Decisions on bird protection on the international, national, and local levels are often based on this data. Waterbirds, which include various species related to water habitats, are a particularly sensitive group and are directly threatened by the disappearance of wet habitats.


In Croatia, waterbirds have been counted regularly since 1968, with over 500 locations included in the campaign so far. Each year, more than 100 participants joining the IWC. The data from 2020, when almost 180,000 birds were counted across 329 locations in Croatia, underscores the extensive nature of the campaign. This significant undertaking involves dedicated field workers, coordinators ensuring everything runs smoothly and the data is submitted timely and correctly, and volunteers responsible for processing the collected data. At the national level, coordination is led by Adrian Tomik from the Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection, while associations Biom, ZEUS, and Geonatura are involved in the regional coordination.

We invite anyone interested in bird counting to join us this January. Whether you are a bird enthusiast, nature lover, beginner, or experienced bird watcher, you are welcome. We have prepared detailed instructions for volunteers, including all necessary materials (IWC Guide, PDF). Localities, where waterbirds can be counted are marked on MAPS, and to choose a locality, please contact a coordinator responsible for the area (a list of coordinators can be found in the IWC guide). A list of all locations and their codes can be found in TABLES. Feel free to contact coordinators for any additional questions related to the count. Counting can be done throughout January, but more valuable data is collected around the central counting weekend (January 13th and 14th, 2024).

On Monday, January 8th, at 18:00, we will have a volunteer meeting to discuss the entire data collection process, including choosing a location, counting birds, and completing the data form. Participants will be able to find out everything they want to know about IWC and share their experiences from the field. Also, those interested will be able to pre-register for group field work on January 13th and 14th.

The meeting is held via Google Meet, and you can join at the following link: https://meet.google.com/tpy-gfuc-tda

(This article was translated into English by Maja Dragojević)