Sixth white stork census starts in Romania through smartphone app
The Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR) launched its sixth annual white stork census on Friday, June 10.
The white stork is a protected species, and Romania's population represents a large percentage of the stork population in Europe. Since the storks generally nest in areas that are populated by humans, people have a good chance of spotting them, so the Ornithological Society relies on these observers for their data collection.
Anyone can participate by adding their information to the census via the Uite barza! (Look, a stork!) a smartphone app which was launched 5 years ago. In order to do so, when a stork is spotted, a person should get close to the stork nest, and from there enter the app where they will be asked to take a picture and fill out the following information: nest location (marked by GPS), what structure the nest is built on, number of birds present in the nest, number of chicks present in the nest, safety status of the birds and nest. A person can also use the app to report incidents of a hazardous or even life-threatening nature involving white storks, such as electrocutions or collisions.
„The first step to help the storks is to know how many pairs are nesting in Romania and the number of chicks they have. Look, a stork! is the first free citizen science app in Romania created to census these birds. The data is collected with the help of all the people who want to get involved in this project. The app helps us to make an inventory of the storks' nests, as well as the number of chicks, and then to use the data for the conservation of the white stork population in Romania and for the creation of distribution maps in Atlas-type projects”, said project coordinator Valentin Marin.
The project is implemented with the support of leading energy company Enel Romania and all the data that is collected through the app will be sent to the various electricity distributors in Romania, in the hopes that they will get involved in this bird’s conservatorship.
A special feature of this year's census is a project whereby a pair of white storks from Călugăreni in Giurgiu County will be monitored on video via a surveillance camera and logged in the Look, a stork! app.
„As every year, we rely on the support of as many bird, nature, and travel lovers as possible. Anyone can become a hero in the great white stork counting adventure,” says Valentin Marin.
The census takes place between June 10 and July 10. The most active users of the app will be rewarded with prizes.
(Photo source: wildliferomania.com)