Every January, many people from all over Europe go out in cold weather to count waterbirds for the International Waterbird Census (IWC), the monitoring scheme, which provides clarity on waterbird populations and their trends.

In Italy, there is good cooperation in place in many areas between professional ornithologists, bird watchers and hunters to ensure good coverage of wetlands, particularly the biggest ones, such as Venice Lagoon and Po delta.

Under the umbrella of ISPRA, The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, mixed teams count and estimate the number of waterbirds, visiting the main concentration areas, often indicated by hunters and landowners. From many years, monitoring by ISPRA is providing crucial data, but cooperation is always welcome.

A number of hunters, who passed their exam, are now official IWC counters and other hunters cooperate in teams going out during specific counting days. IWC is now an essential monitoring project in Italy where an 18-year dataset is now available with population estimates and trends, prepared by ISPRA researchers.

In January 2017, the cold weather produced very high counts of many duck species, and the cooperation of hunters was important to find the locations of birds and estimates of numbers.

Some photo taken in Venice Lagoon:

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