For the second year in a row, BALKANI Wildlife Society, in partnership with WWF Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Ornithological Center, organized a volunteer bird ringing camp at the Dragoman Marsh. 41 licensed bird ringers and volunteers participated in the camp which was held every weekend in the period September 15th – October 15th.


Photo by Maria Nalbantova

The event attracted a great number of visitors, who were curious to learn more about wetlands and bird migration. Due to the low water level, children and their parents had the chance to walk through the reeds reaching the boardwalks that survived the fire in 2020. Local kids and adults from Dragoman joined the bird ringing activities, too. All visitors expressed their support for the work of BALKANI WS and WWF for restoration of the visitors’ infrastructure which is underway.


Photo by BALKANI Wildlife Society

876 birds from 42 species were ringed during the five camp weekends. The species diversity proves the importance of the Dragoman marsh as a habitat providing food and resting place for the migrating birds, as well as suitable conditions for wintering of some species. The bird ringing at the Marsh provides useful information for species monitoring. Data collection continues with the monthly bird counts that are organized with ornithologists and volunteer birdwatchers, too.


A male Panarus biarmicus. Photo by Peter Hristov

Bird watchers and bird ringers are identified as a stakeholder group interested in the Dragoman Marsh restoration work. Thus, in November, BALKANI WS organized a meeting to collect feedback and to plan the bird ringing camp in 2024. Participants agreed that the Dragoman Marsh is a key location for education and practical training for people interested in learning more about wetlands, birdwatching and bird ringing. Further discussions are expected on how to better integrate scientific, management, and educational goals of future bird ringing camps.


Regulus ignicapilla. Photo by Petko Tzvetkov, BALKANI Wildlife Society