Centre for Avian Population Studies

The Centre for Avian Population Studies (CAPS) is the knowledge centre for research on bird populations in the Netherlands. Five leading organisations in the fields of ornithology and population studies collaborate within CAPS: Sovon Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, the Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography (Vogeltrekstation), the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, the Institute for Water and Wetland Research of the Radboud University and the Dutch BirdLife partner (Vogelbescherming Nederland).

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The activities of our growing human population affect many bird species. Some populations are decreasing despite our efforts to protect them, while others increase rapidly and cause damage to crops or vulnerable species.
By combining the data and expertise of the five partners, we can discover population changes in an early stage (‘early warning’) and determine their causes. With this knowledge, we can help design science-based management and conservation measures.

Our main aim is therefore:
“To promote research on demography (numbers, reproduction and survival) and driving environmental factors of bird populations for effective species conservation and management.”

Recent projects

AI toolkit for phenotyping bird populations

Research on chick survival within the Lapwing year

Research on chick survival within the Lapwing year

Are the birds starving? How pesticides affect insectivorous birds.

Are the birds starving? How pesticides affect insectivorous birds.

CAPS for you

What can CAPS offer you as a client? CAPS can answer diverse questions on bird populations.
Fundamental ecological questions, such as:

  • What determines whether a species can adapt to novel environments?
  • To what extent do individual characteristics determine the growth or decline of a population?

But also more applied questions, such as:

  • How can damage to crops caused by grazing geese be limited?
  • What effect does your company have on vulnerable bird populations and how can this be mitigated?
  • Why are farmland birds still decreasing despite costly conservation efforts? And what can we do about this?
  • Which common bird species may become vulnerable in the near future?
  • What is the minimum size of a sustainable population?

Our partners

CAPS is a collaboration of five organisations.
It is managed by a Steering Committee, consisting of representatives from each organisation. The Steering Committee is assisted by a coordinator for day-to-day business.