Winter Haven: The Kızılırmak Delta Provides Shelter to 160,000 Water Birds This Season
11 March 2024, Monday - 14:56
Updated: 14 March 2024, Thursday - 14:57
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In a count conducted in the Kızılırmak Delta by the Ondokuz Mayıs University (OMU) Ornithology Research Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks 11th Regional Directorate, approximately 160,000 water birds were detected this winter.

Associate Professor Kiraz Erciyas Yavuz, an OMU Ornithology Research Center staff member, told an AA reporter that a mid-winter water bird count is conducted simultaneously worldwide in January, February, and March every year. Yavuz, explaining that the count is carried out by the Wetlands Conservation and Monitoring Unit based in the Netherlands, pointed out that the count is conducted when migration movements halt.

She stated that the aim of the counts is to determine where bird populations are distributed, saying, "In other words, we want to identify where each species is. As part of the global counting organization, we conduct counts under the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks affiliated with our Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Türkiye. As the Ornithology Research Center of Ondokuz Mayıs University, we are responsible for the wetlands in the Black Sea Region." Yavuz noted that the Kızılırmak Delta is one of the 37 wetlands in the Black Sea Region, saying, "Both species diversity and the number of water birds are high in the Kızılırmak Delta. This year, we detected that approximately 160,000 water birds wintered in the Kızılırmak Delta. We do not count other songbirds during this period. We count them within different projects. This number includes geese, pelicans, shorebirds, ducks, and storks. We have a designated point, and we observe from the same point every year to determine the water bird population in the area. This year, the mallard duck, pelican, and mudskipper were the most detected species. We identified 57 species of water birds wintering in the Kızılırmak Delta."

Yavuz mentioned that approximately 2 million water birds are detected annually in about 160 wetlands across Türkiye.

“The mobility of water birds depends on how the weather proceeds in the north”

Yavuz stated that the number of birds wintering in the Kızılırmak Delta varies between 70,000 and 200,000 from year to year, adding, "The mobility of water birds wintering in Türkiye depends on the weather conditions in the north. If the weather is harsher in the north, birds feel the need to move south. Then we see a larger number of birds and species, but in milder years, birds prefer not to undertake the long migration. That's why we observe fewer birds in some years."

Yavuz emphasized that the Kızılırmak Delta is among the wetlands with the highest species diversity observed during mid-winter water bird counts in Türkiye, noting: "7% of the species and populations seen in Türkiye are observed in the Kızılırmak Delta. Although the Eğirdir and Beyşehir lakes are much larger and thus host more water birds, when comparing the size of these lakes to the delta, we see that the delta significantly harbors a large number of water birds."

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