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The Strait of Gibraltar is a focal point in the migration of birds between Europe and Africa. It is a recognized bird migration bottleneck, one of the most important in Europe and among the top in the world.

Fifty years ago, Oxford scientist Reginald Moreau published a seminal book entitled “The Palaearctic-African Bird Migration Systems”. This year, the Calpe Conference, now in its 26th edition, is dedicated to review advances that have been made in the study of bird migration in the last fifty years, with special emphasis on the European-African system. In the past decade, in particular, developments in the fields of genetics, biochemistry and in tracking techniques, have catapulted the science. Calpe '22 recognizes the need to take stock of these recent advances in Gibraltar, a location that was a pioneer in this field of study as far back as the late 18th Century. An exciting programme has been put together which includes some of the world’s leading scientists.

Recently, Minister with responsibility for the Environment, Professor John Cortes, launched a European-African Bird Migration Observatory Network in Gibraltar. It brought together the key players in the study of bird migration in Gibraltar and recognized Gibraltar’s importance and also the contribution being made by local scientists. It was an appropriate initiative in this anniversary year, which will now reach its global highlight here in Gibraltar.

Commenting on the conference, Professor Cortes said “The importance of Gibraltar’s location in the bird migration system is unquestioned, and the contribution to knowledge that has been accumulated here through the decades is hugely significant. Research continues from the Rock, and it is very fitting that with this year’s Calpe Conference, Gibraltar should celebrate the anniversary of a book that contributed so much to understanding the phenomenon of migration. It is of course a subject of particular interest to me, having myself contributed to some of the local work. Gibraltar-based ornithologists will no doubt benefit from, and appreciate, listening to world-renowned experts on the subject talking and discussing right where the migration happens.

Persons interested in attending may register for the conference via the Gibraltar Natural Museum’s website, where the detailed programme is available. For further information please contact Dr Stewart Finlayson, email:; telephone +350 200 74289, at the Gibraltar National Museum.

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