Aranzadi Society of Sciences
Funding support: Regional Government of Biscay, Kutxabank
Number of staff: 10
Number of visitors per year: 20,000
Overall aims of the centre
Urdaibai Bird Centre wants to achieve a deeper knowledge of the birds and their habitats in Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, for establishing tools for the protection and the conservation of them in collaboration with local owners, administration; promote measures for the management of the singular ecosystems of the Reserve; make to know to the people of any age about the birds and the scientific researches about them; involve the general public in the activities and researches of the centre for increasing their awareness of Nature and promote the sustainable ornithological and environmental tourism in Urdaibai and promote the development of equipment for facilitating this kind of tourism.
Description of the centre
The centre covers 2338.13 m2 and is located in the municipality of Gautegiz Arteaga (Biscay, Basque Country), in Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. This reserve has 220 km2, where there can be found the following habitats: Atlantic countryside, natural Holm-oak woods, Atlantic mixed forest, Eucalyptus and pine plantations, fluvial system and marshes. The most important one is the wetland with a surface of 945 Ha. Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is also Special Protection Area for birds (SPA) and is inside the Ramsar Convention and Natura 2000.
The centre is a research centre that spread the scientific and environmental information through guided visits to it. In the visits, people learn about the birds of Urdaibai, their habitats, the migration of birds and the relation between the movements of the birds and the meteorology and even, about the researches that are carried out in our centre. Some visits have also little walks by the countryside on the surroundings of the marshes for learning on the field.
Urdaibai Bird Centre also has a volunteer network that helps us in several works: birdwatcher network for detecting uncommon species or events, expert volunteers for helping the scientist in the field work, volunteers for making marsh and land management (taking out exotic plants, plantations of native plants…) and “birds of our surrounding” project based on the monitoring of bird feeders and nest-boxes.
Main CEPA work areas
Educational Visits for children and adults, work with schools of the surroundings, volunteer work, website and facebook, design of scientific spreading and natural awareness dissemination material, training courses, talks and lectures.
Top three successes
Marsh management of the wetland of Gautegiz Arteaga.
Environmental improvement of ancient polders plenty of exotic plants to transform into 2 internal lagoons of fresh and salty water that has increase the biodiversity of the Urdaibai, because the provided habitat is the one that was necessary in Urdaibai, it is a quiet place for resting, feeding the great amount of available food and breeding
The educational project “Hegazti eskola”(Bird school) that gives to the children the opportunity of being little scientist with the monitoring of bird-feeders and nest-boxes at their schools and also allow them to include the birds in all the main subjects of the school like excuse for the children to learn: Geography with the travels of birds, Mathematics and Statistics with the analysis of the data from the nest-boxes and bird-feeders, English in the collaboration with the schools of abroad, Nature Sciences obviously.
Ecotourism and bird watching promotion in Urdaibai, with the stewardship of several lands for settling two public bird hides around the marshes of Gautegiz Arteaga and also the adaptation of the surroundings for avoiding the disturbances to the birds, and the design of two routes for walking in the surroundings of the marshes by the Atlantic countryside.
Top three challenges
The main challenge is the environmental work in a very populated biosphere reserve, where it is essential to achieve a balance between the nature conservation and protection with the economical and social development of the population of the area.
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat; Building / maintaining structures
Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Working with secondary schools;
PR and marketing; Running effective administration; Project planning.