In 2005, one of the most extensive programmes in Europe began with the scientific guidance of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, in cooperation with the Mediterranean Institute of Hunting Heritage and Fauna (IMPCF) and the Institute of Migrating Birds of the Western Palearctic (OMPO).

The aim of the programme was to determine the migration period of birds wintering or stopping in Greece, whether they are coming from or going to their breeding areas and the factors impacting on this. Today, knowledge of the migration period is a prerequisite for the determination of the hunting period.

This programme is of enormous significance and monitors and records migrating birds from Evros to Crete and from Mytilene to Amvrakikos.

It is a scientific programme studying the phenology of migration: (i) of aquatic and coastal birds, (ii) the woodcock, (iii) and cichlids (thrushes and blackbirds) and operates on 3 axes.
The term “phenology” refers to the science of occurrence, or presence, of certain events. More specifically, phenology is the science of recording moments in time when cyclic repetitive life events present themselves in the life of every living organism.

Consequently, phenology studies are carried out on plants as well as animals. For example, plants are studied to see when the first leaves, flowers or fruits or the last flowers appear , the way seeds are dispersed, and how colour change occurs in leaves etc. In animals, phenology is concerned with periods when they mate, are pregnant, give birth, raise their young, hibernate, moult and, most importantly, the phenomenon of migration, especially in birds.

For migrating birds, the time when they arrive in wintering areas, the duration of overwintering, the time when migration towards nesting grounds begins, their arrival in breeding areas, recording of numbers of every species and environmental parameters comprise the key to understanding reproductive success, survival and the health of populations in each case.

By combining the study of all the above factors , phenology provides a picture of bird migration in the modern world. In the last decade, in particular, where climatic change has brought changes to many aspects in the phenology of migrating birds, as recorded by top scientists in many scientific papers, the need for detailed records of phenology in migrating birds is imperative for the comprehension of this complex phenomenon, and also for the proposal of correct administrative measures in every case.