Capri Bird Observatory—a brief historical overview
Keywords:bird observatory, Ottenby bird observatory, Swedish Ornithological Society, migration, bird ringing, bird banding, Italy
The Capri Bird Observatory is situated in Castello Barbarossa, an old fortification overlooking the Bay of Naples in southwestern Italy. The observatory was founded in 1956 by the Swedish Ornithological Society in cooperation with Villa San Michele. Until the mid- 1980s it was entirely a Swedish venture, whereafter also Italian ornithologists joined, first the LIPU bird protection organization, later the ringing center in Bologna through its Piccole Isole project. The aim was to study bird migration between winter quarters in tropical Africa and breeding areas around the Baltic Sea. The main concern has been spring migration, when many birds make landfall on the island after having crossed the Mediterranean. But work has also been done in autumns, and in later years even in winters. To the general study of bird migration, including ringing and the sampling of various biometric and phenological parameters, have been added more specialized studies, like visual observations of raptor migration, experiments on bird orientation, and sampling for the study of bird-born diseases. Recently, studies of butterfly migration have been added to the agenda.
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