Sixty-four percent of the 56 raptor and owl species that occur in Europe have an unfavorable conservation status. As well as requiring conservation measures in their own right, raptors and owls function as useful sentinels of wider environmental “health,” because they are widespread top predators, relatively easy to monitor, and sensitive to environmental changes at a range of geographical scales. At a time of global acknowledgment of an increasing speed of biodiversity loss, and new, forward-looking and related European Union biodiversity policy, there is an urgent need to improve coordination at a pan-European scale of national initiatives that seek to monitor raptor populations. Here we describe current initiatives that make a contribution to this aim, particularly the current “MEROS” program, the results of a questionnaire survey on the current state of national raptor monitoring across 22 BirdLife Partners in Europe, the challenges faced by any enhanced pan-European monitoring scheme for raptors, and some suggested pathways for efficiently tapping expertise to contribute to such an initiative.
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Vol. 37 • No. 6