Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC)

European robin (Erithacus rubecula) (Photo: Anne Hloch)

The Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC) has its headquarters at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.  It is a scientific institution for the research of all biological and ecological aspects of birds.  It serves as ornithological documentation centre and is meant to bundle all bird research in Austria.  When it was founded in 2015 Austria became the last European country to establish such an ornithological centre.  

The AOC´s tasks include basic research on the lives of wild birds, causal research regarding threats to our birdlife, monitoring of breeding and migratory bird populations and the establishment and operation of a national bird ringing centre 1.




Swallow project receives Citizen Science Award 2019

Dr. Richard Zink and team member Janette Siebert, MSc with the winners (Photo OeAD GmbH/APA-Fotoservice/Schedl)
Group picture of the winning team and project leaders 2

Once again this year, interested people ("citizen scientists") had the opportunity to participate in research projects throughout Austria as part of the Citizen Science Awards 2019 3. The most dedicated citizen scientists were again honored by the Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMBWF) and the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) with the Citizen Science Award on 19 November 2019.

A project of the Austrian Ornithological Centre  "Flugkünstler gesucht - Schwalbe gesehen 4?" ("Flying artists - have you seen a swallow?") was one of the seven winning projects. The aim of the project was to investigate the occurrence of common house martins and barn swallows in the Lower Austrian district of Tulln. Citizen scientists - participating classes as well as individuals - were able to photograph swallows and their nests with camera or smartphone and record their observations on the Wild Neighbors 5 website. On the Citizen Science Award Day, interested schoolchildren had the opportunity to learn more about the birdlife in town and country as well as to take a look behind the scenes of the different nesting aids and bird nests.

The festive ceremony then took place in the ballroom of the University of Vienna. Attractive prizes for two individuals and prize money for the winning class of BG / BRG Tulln (Lower Austria) were awarded based on the number of nests reported during the research period. 

(Web editor, 20 November 2019)  


Rare rustic bunting sighted in downtown Vienna

At the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna 67 bird species have been documented so far. This rustic bunting is a very rare find. (Photo © Christian Schulze)
Portrait photo of a rustic bunting 6

On the 2nd of November a rustic bunting was observed and ringed in the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna as part of the program "Integrated Winter Bird Monitoring." The rustic bunting is a breeding bird of the boreal coniferous forest zone with a range of distribution from Scandinavia to Northern Russia to the Bering Strait. It overwinters in the Southern parts of East Asia. In Central Europe the species only appears as an extremely rare guest. This is now the seventh sighting for Austria and the first proof of this globally endangered species for Vienna.

Dr. Christian H. Schulze from the Division of Tropical Ecology and Animal Biodiversity (University of Vienna) and his team are participating in the monitoring program, conducting bird ringing for scientific purposes in the university's botanical garden. Such green "islands" in big cities are important habitats for birds and other wildlife and thus contribute to the protection of species.The bird monitoring program was designed by the Austrian Ornithological Institute, which also coordinates it throughout Austria. The marking rings used for this purpose are provided by the Austrian Bird Ringing Centre.

(Web editor, 6 November 2019)  


Picking - sorting - identifying feathers - in a seminar at the AOC field office in Seebarn

For laypeople it is often difficult to distinguish one feather from another. (Photo © Richard Zink)
Screen presentation of bird feathers with a lecturer 7

Occasionally we find loose feathers on the ground - sometimes a single feather, sometimes a few together. The question always arises: What kind of bird has lost these feathers? Feather experts can determine the bird species based on the smallest details of individual feathers.

On October 19, a seminar on the identification of bird feathers took place at the Seebarn field office of the Austrian Ornithological Centre. In addition to an introduction to types of  feathers and lectures on legal provisions, e.g. regarding collecting feathers, there were also practical exercises. Experts and interested participants were able to practice the identification and measurement of birds, as well as the measurement and washing of feathers. A little knowledge quiz rounded off the workshop.

(Web editor, 21 October 2019)




News Archive AOC 8



Conference of the expert group on woodpeckers of the German Ornithological Society, 27-29 March 2020, Vienna

Great spotted woodpecker (© Johannes Hloch)

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Recovered a bird ring?

Photo of bird rings

Please report your recovery here 10.