January is the most true winter month for creating wintering birds list here in Latvia, as some earliest migrating birds arrive at the end of February already and late migrants are observed often in December (even January in some of mildest winters). To promote active outdoor lifestyle, evoke motivation to enjoy winter season and enhance knowledge about wintering birds birding challenge of January 2016 is announced. Comprehensive overview of wintering birds will be one of the outcomes also increased quantity and quality of bird observation reports. “That is voluntary bird race, where everybody participates upon his/her resources and interest. “Nor place in the rating, nor number of observed species is the most important. Searching excitement of birds and individual surprises are the most valuable results to be involved, and interesting news for all birding society in general” once mentioned the initial co-ordinator of January birding challenge – Agris Celmins/Putni.lv1.
There will be few novelty principles in process of the challenge and following categories will be announced:

  • the largest list in total
  • the largest list of species photographed
  • the largest inland list
  • most interesting rarity
  • there will be another competition – comparison of lists from Western Latvia and Eastern Latvia generated from all the bird observations reported in January.


  • Venue and time: territory of Latvia and territorial sea waters – from 1st of January to 31st of January.
  • Lists are made individually.
  • To participate, bird observations of January should be reported in Dabasdati.lv2 or observations of rarities3  could be reported to and the list with all the species observed in a special excel template should be sent to the e-mail:
  • The latest observations should be reported or lists should be sent no later than 1.February 2016 at 22:00 Riga time. To promote operative circulation of rarity news – they should be published (reported) no later than five days after observation is made.
  • Wild bird species are the subject to be included in the list according to the official species list of Birds of Latvia4. Subspecies are subject to separate if one could be identified however that will not add additional points.
  • In case of equal amount of species in the list winner will be the one with largest self-found list among all the observations.
  • Inland list is created from observations made at least 5 kilometres away from the sea coast. One participant could take part in several nominations (e.g. total list, interior list etc.).
  • In the nomination of the largest list with species photographed all pictures should be in the quality to identify the species. Pictures should be added together with the reported observations in or rarities in
  • The border between W-Latvia and E-Latvia is splitting from Via Baltica highway towards the side-way of Riga and after following the middle axes of Daugava River as in that map5.
  • Results will be published in and until 5.February 2016.
  • To follow the principles of birding ethics6 is essential not to disturb natural processes and decrease opportunities for birds to survive in the coldest winter weather (e.g. long chasing of birds for photographing or displaying records of bird voice in the same site where the species is already observed before in this January).
  • There will not be special awards in this challenge, but with all the honour and respect that would create an opportunity for the best to be written in the annals of Latvian birding history.

Coordinators of the challenge:
A.Klepers, U.Piterāns / – lists and ranking
K.Millers / – nomination of most interesting rarity

There are some of the previous results from January race, sometimes held informally (will be updated) – acknowledgements to all the coordinators and summary producers:




2012: longest list 2012

2011: longest list 2011




1 Štrausa I. (2006). Veikts kopsavilkums par putnu novērojumiem janvārī. Resurss pieejams:

2 The most easiest and contemporary way to report observations of any wild species from Latvian nature is using DabasDati smart phone application for Android (available in Google Play) or iOS (available in App Store). Available for registred users of

3 According to the criteria based on rarities data base:

4 List of bird species and subspecies based on the "The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th Edition 2007" (version 6.5) Source available:

5 Map form the Latvian State Forest Birding Rally:

6 For example these of The American Birding Association: