The first International Bird Observatory Conference, hosted by Falsterbo Bird Observatory in cooperation with Lund University, was an overwhelming success. Bringing together 104 ambitious and open people from dozens of bird observatories across 18 countries, the conference was rich in possibilities for exchange of knowledge.
IBOC 2014 commenced with a day of welcoming, climaxing with an inspirational lecture by Yossi Leshem looking at the role of birds and bird research in the Middle East. Thereafter, a single full day was dedicated to the three main focus areas of IBOC 2014: environmental monitoring, research, and public activities. Mixing keynote speakers with shorter lectures throughout the day then ending the formal program with a panel discussion about the topic of the day proved to be successful.
The more informal part of the conference consisted of morning excursions to see the work of Falsterbo Bird Observatory first-hand. The participants had one morning each to visit the standardized migration counts, the standardized ringing, and a set of lectures about the research in Falsterbo. To really facilitate networking and building relationships between bird observatories, the evenings were open for socializing.
The diversity of bird observatories attending the conference was broad, from those run more-or-less voluntarily to those at the forefront global research. It did however seem like the conference could have been even more appreciated if focus had included slightly more of how bird observatories finance their work, since many bird observatories have to hold back their work due to shortage of resources.
There were two main decisions from the conference.
- A platform for information exchange would be highly valued. In order to create such a platform, a working group was created and Björn Malmhagen (Falsterbo Bird Observatory) was appointed chairman.
- Since IBOC 2014 was very much appreciated, many wished for IBOC to turn into an event repeated with certain time increments. Keith Bildstein of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary took on the task of investigating the possibilities for Hawk Mountain to host the next IBOC, preliminary planned for 2016.
In conclusion, the highly international setting and the focus on the work of bird observatories rather than academic research were key characteristics for IBOC 2014 and contributed to the success.
With that, the members of the organizing committee wish to extend their sincerest gratitude to all participants of IBOC 2014.