Posts in Events
BRC at IBOC2019

We just returned home from the 3rd International Bird Observatory Conference (IBOC) in Eilat. It was a very successfull get together of people from bird observatories across the globe to share knowledge and experiences. As BRC we are very thankful to the organizers of the IBOC2019 for helping us with part of the funding needed to come to Eilat and for giving us considerable speaking time to present our work in Batumi. Besides topics as project management, count philosophy and data management and our recently submitted paper to IBIS about the relevance of ageing, we are very proud that one of our first Georgian counters, Aslan Bolkvadze, presented the problems of illegal hunting in the bottleneck.

Update May 9th, 2019: Videos and slides of the talks have now been made available. Scroll down to see them. Unfortunately there is no video of the talk by Dries Engelen.


During IBOC2019 the Caucasus region was represented by people from Georgia, Armenia, Germany, Estonia and The Netherlands: a unique moment and an excellent opportunity to discuss cooperation possibilities. Photo by Art Villem Adojaan.

Aslan Bolkvadze presenting the problem of illegal hunting in the bottleneck. Photo by Art Villem Adojaan.


Triin Kaasiku presenting our project, count philosophy and open access availability of our dataset. Photo by Art Villem Adojaan.

Dries Engelen  presenting the team that was at the basis of 8 years of standardised counts. Photo by Art Villem Adojaan.

Dries Engelen presenting the team that was at the basis of 8 years of standardised counts. Photo by Art Villem Adojaan.


Videos & Slides


Batumi Raptor Count: our strategy for the monitoring and conservation of more than one million raptors in the eastern Black Sea flyway

Triin Kaasiku


Illegal killing of birds in the Batumi bottleneck

Aslan Bolkvadze

IBOC2019 - BRC - Dries Engelen.jpg

Accounting for differential migration strategies between age groups to monitor raptor population dynamics in the eastern Black Sea flyway

Dries Engelen


Other talks from the region

Besides presentations about BRC, we would also like to highlight the presentations from our friends from projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The branch of German nature protection union in the Republic of Armenia: NABU-Armenia

Lusine Aghajanyan


Research on waders in Southern Azerbaijan, one of the last under-surveyed areas of the Western Palearctic

Christoph Himmel

The development of the Besh Barmag Bird Migration Count in Azerbaijan and its importance for the monitoring of Eurasian migrant birds

Michael Heiss


Establishing raptor migration monitoring at Sarimazi (Turkey) to assess Egyptian Vulture population trends

Steffen Oppel

Announcement: Batumi Birdwatching Festival 2018

Batumi Birdwatching Festival 2018

3 – 8 september 2018 – venue: Oasis Hotel – Chakvi – Georgia

We would like to invite all of you to the annual Batumi Birding festival, taking place the first week of September this year.

The full seven-day program will encompass a diversity of activities, all related to the study and conservation of the migration spectacle. You are welcome to join the daily excursions. You will have the option to choose between watching the raptors at our watch sites, visit other birding hotspots in the region or one of the national parks of the region, attend trapping demonstrations or pay a cultural visit to the region. We aim to attract a broad international public of birdwatchers, conservationists and eco-tourists as well as a large part of both the local population and regional peers. With this event, we want to highlight all aspects of our project, particularly the tourism potential.


We have a spectacular line-up for the evening lectures this year, with specialists from USA, UK and Denmark giving a lecture:

  • WILLIAM CLARK (USA): author of several raptor books and raptor identification specialist, will talk about raptor migration, eagles around the world and his eagle quest.
  • DAVID LINDO aka the Urban Birder (UK): author and celebrity, will talk about urban birding, raptors in urban environments and his new book
  • LUKE TILLER: tour guide and raptor migration addict, will talk about raptor migration (monitoring) all over the USA
  • BRC team: will present the daily count results, and an overview of results of the work BRC has done so far.

A detailed program will be published soon.


Participation to the daily excursions and the evening lectures is free of charge, subscribing is advised. A donation towards BRC is of course appreciated, but not obligatory. For the last evening celebration diner, a small payment will be asked. This event is financed by the Department of Tourism Adjara, we are very grateful for their support.

If you would like to show your interest for this event, or if you have questions, feel free to contact

Youth exchange in Chorokhi delta

Final exposure event of the Youth exchange, protecting the Chorokhi delta. There will be an exhibition on the delta and its importance for birds. Georgian, Armenian and Belgian youngsters are working together on bird paintings, info panels, a documentary, birdwatching map and much more.

Everyone welcome to see for themselves, saturday 17/09/2016 at 2pm at the entrance arch of the Chorokhi delta (Akhalsopheli, close to the petrol station)!

Thanks to all who have contributed to make this exchange to a success. Thank you partner DRONI (Georgia), Young Biologist association (Armenia) and Jeugdbond voor Natuur en Milieu (Belgium). And thanks to Erasmus+ YIA and OSME for the generous support.

Erasmus+ youth exchange in Batumi, Georgia

This is a Erasmus+ Youth in Action Project, funded by the European Commission, and in cooperation with JNM (Belgium) and YBA (Armenia)

Batumi Raptor Count is hosting a youth exchange in 2016 and we want you to be part of it!
Are you Georgian with an interest in birds and nature conservation, and you are between 18 and 30 years old, read on an APPLY HERE!

During a BRC youth camp you will enjoy countless hours in the field with young biologists and environmentalists from across the world in a nice group of young people from your (neighboring) country. We invite you to learn more about the birds and animals that live in the Caucasus together with us, to discover what  kinds of problems they face and what we can do to give them a better future! We welcome all Georgian youngsters to apply!

When? 5 – 18 September 2016 (excluding travel days)

Who? This camp is open to Georgian, Armenian and Belgian applicants of 18-30 years of age. We will accept a total of 20 youngsters, 8 of each country.

What?  Be aware because this unique exchange will take you to Batumi on the Black Sea coast of Georgia. Above the subtropical hills surrounding Batumi a yearly returning spectacle of nature takes place: every autumn hundred thousands Birds of prey migrate over Batumi.

Together with like minded youngsters from Belgium, Georgia and Armenia, we will indulge ourselves during this intensive camp into the raptor migration spectacle, and strive for the protection of birds. One key area we will focus on is the Chorokhi delta on the Black Sea, a river mouth wetland complex important as a stopover-site for birds, that is threatened by several different development plans and by hunting. Through different trajectories (eg. a documentary, a hiking map of the delta, constructing birdwatchinghides…) we will showcase the importance of the delta.

Apart from nature protection and birding, cultural exchange and discovery of the region are central. Together with our Belgian, Georgian and Armenian comrades we will join the activities of BRC (raptor counting, bird ringing), well do sport- and cooking contests and we’ll go for a hike through the Georgian wilderness. We interact with the local community and try to discover the different perspectives on hunting and raptors. It’s crucial to be open for different opinions: the goal is to understand, not to judge.

This youth exchange is not a traditional holiday. There’s more initiative expected from you, but you’ll get a great experience in return!

Are you keen to join? Georgian candidates (between 18 and 30 yrs old) can subscribe by sending in your motivation using this form!

* There is room for 9 Georgians. Good knowledge of English is required. Participants with experience in birding or environmental awareness are favorite, experience with bird ringing or filming experience will be prioritized.

** This youth exchange is free of charge. All costs are paid, for accommodation, excursions and transport.

The Belgian National Agency for Youth in Action, JINT, kindly funded this project.


Practical organization

All participants will be hosted in guest houses of local families who are working closely with the BRC in the village of Sakhalvasho in the Kobuleti district, near Batumi Georgia. We will spend some nights in Gonio as well, and in Mtirala national park. You will live together with other participants and we will have group dinners and evening activities, also with the many international volunteers that are counting birds with BRC, either in the village or out in Batumi city. All accommodation, food and local transportation will be arranged for you. There will be plenty of occasions during which you have the time to buy personal goods, a souvenir for back home or simply to enjoy the city.

Very good practical information about how to reach our project is available here.

The group of Belgian youngsters will travel for more than 80h with public transport through Eastern Europe and Turkey until Batumi! They choose not to travel by plane to reduce the impact of their journey on the environment.

Financial arrangements

BRC covers all costs for accommodation and food for all participants during their stay. Students are expected to book their own transportation to travel to and from Batumi. 100% of your transportation costs will be reimbursed at the end of exchange in Batumi.

We ask all participants to travel via train or bus as the cheapest and least polluting forms of transportation. This also applies for Belgian participants.

All applications must be submitted via the online application form. If you have problems using the form please contact us at

With more than 70 students joining in youth projects at Batumi over the past 5 years, BRC has all the experience you want to give you an unforgettable experience with the millions of birds traveling by the Black Sea coast! We offer you a varied and exciting program with a lot of fun outdoor activities and a great intercultural experience with young people from all over the Caucasus and the rest of the world.
We hope to see very many of you enjoying the beautiful nature and epic bird migration of Batumi together with us very soon!

Education, EventsJohannes Jansen