Reed Warbler Project


(Acrocephalus scirpaceus) 

As a breeding bird, the reed warbler is commonly found throughout Europe including Luxembourg. The interesting part is that the reed warbler exclusively builds the nests in reed beds and preferably in old stocks with high culm density. This has inspired the development of the following project. The stocks of reed beds here in Luxembourg are getting smaller due to agriculture or the development of new building land. Most people are not aware that the vanishing of the reeds in Luxembourg is followed by the disappearance of the reed warbler as it is unable to build its nests elsewhere.


This project consists of two independent studies. The first study focuses on the areas of the “Schlammwiss” the birds reside, hunt or build their nests in during the breeding season. To locate the birds and track their movements, we use VHF transmitters. Those transmitters, weighing only 0,48g are attached to the birds back. With an antenna we are able to pinpoint their location in the reed beds. For this part 10 reed warblers (males and females) will be fitted with a VHF transmitter.


With the help of a second study, we want to determine the winter locations of the reed warbler breeding in Luxembourg. The identification of those wintering areas will allow us to understand which habitats the reed warblers prefer during the winter season. In order to determine the routes and the regions, we use Geolocators. These chips (0,42g) are attached to the back of the bird and record at regular intervals, the light intensity. With specific software, the data is then, after the return of the birds, evaluated and with the recorded day length, the approximate location of the birds can be calculated. To increase the chance of getting several birds back we will fit 40 reed warblers with Geolocators.


The objectives of this project are first a better understanding of the breeding and wintering areas of the reed warblers and on the other hand, the collected data should help us to illustrate the importance of the Luxembourg reed beds and continue our efforts to preserve those natural habitats.


Autor: Mike Moro