Brief legal analysis of the entries and annexes of Directive 2009/147/EC of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds.
Prepared by: PhD Jarosław Krogulec
A. The Birds Directive
The Birds Directive is the common name for Directive 2009/147/EC of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds, which is a consolidated version of the earlier EEC Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds. In specific cases, as defined in Article 9 of the Directive, Member States are allowed to grant individual authorisations to derogate from the prohibitions set out in the Directive.
B. Objectives of the Directive
The primary objectives of the Birds Directive are
- to protect against the extinction of all existing wild bird populations in the EU today
- legal regulation of trade and trapping of birds
- counteracting certain methods of trapping and killing them
C. Structure of the Directive
The Birds Directive consists of 20 articles and 5 annexes, which specify the methods of its implementation.
Annexes of the Birds Directive:
I. Birds subject to special conservation measures concerning their habitat
II. Birds which may be hunted under national legislation
II/A – Species which may be hunted throughout the European Union
II/B – Species which, according to the Birds Directive, may only be hunted in the Member States in respect of which they are indicated in the Directive.
III. Species for which trading is authorised
III/A – Species which may be sold, provided that the birds have been legally acquired.
III/B – The Member State may grant exemptions from the prohibition on selling these species
III/C – Species which require testing for classification in category III/2 (this Annex has been deleted in the amendment process)
IV. Prohibited capture methods and devices
V. Research topics of which specific account shall be taken in research and protection.
D. Amendments to the Directive to date.
The provisions of the Directive have passed the test of time and have not been further modified. The changes introduced mainly concerned minor technical and procedural matters and, above all, the completion of the provisions and annexes after the accession of new EU members. Such changes were introduced in 1979, 1985, 1994 and 2003. The last changes were made in 2009 when a consolidated version of the earlier 1979 Directive was prepared.
Changes in the provisions of the Directive:
- Council Directive 79/409/EEC (OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1)
- 1979 Act of Accession, Annex I, point XIII 1(F) (OJ L 291, 19.11.1979, p. 111)
- Council Directive 81/854/EEC (OJ L 319, 7.11.1981, p. 3)
- Commission Directive 85/411/EEC (OJ L 233, 30.8.1985, p. 33)
- 1985 Act of Accession, Annex I, points X 1(h) and X 6 (OJ L 302, 15.11.1985, p. 218)
- Council Directive 86/122/EEC (OJ L 100, 16.4.1986, p. 22).
- Commission Directive 91/244/EEC (OJ L 115, 8.5.1991, p. 41).
- Council Directive 94/24/EC (OJ L 164, 30.6.1994, p. 9)
- 1994 Act of Accession, Annex I, point VIII(E)(1) (OJ C 241, 29.8.1994, p. 175)
- Commission Directive 97/49/EC (OJ L 223, 13.8.1997, p. 9)
- Council Regulation (EC) No 807/2003 (OJ L 122, 16.5.2003, p. 36) Only point 29 of Annex III thereto
- 2003 Act of Accession, Annex II, point 16(C)(1) (OJ L 236, 23.9.2003, p. 667)
- Council Directive 2006/105/EC (OJ L 363, 20.12.2006, p. 368)
E. Problems concerning migratory species
From a bird protection point of view, the provisions of the Directive generally allow for adequate protection of most species in EU Member States. Possible deficiencies of the Birds Directive have been supplemented by another nature directive – the Habitats Directive. Both of these acts are strongly interconnected and can hardly be considered in isolation.
The problem is that Annex II is not updated over time. The annex was prepared in the 1970s. Since then, many bird species have significantly reduced their populations. They are extremely rare in a number of Member States and are subject to active conservation measures often financed by EU funds. In many Member States they have been removed from the list of wildlife species for several years.
Article 7 1.: “Owing to their population level, geographical distribution and reproductive rate throughout the Community, the species listed in Annex II may be hunted under national legislation. Member States shall ensure that the hunting of these species does not jeopardize conservation efforts in their distribution area”.
It is necessary to update Annex II of the DP and to delete species showing a long-term decline in population (over the last three decades) from it. We propose that these species should be included in the list of Appendix I of the DP. The trends in the abundance of this group of species are presented below.
The data are based on two sources. The main source is the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS), a project that coordinates bird monitoring in the EU in cooperation with the European Bird Monitoring Council (EBCC) and BirdLife International (https://pecbms.info/).
For species not monitored by PECBMS, their abundance trends and threat status are based on BirdLife International data (http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/search).
At the end of the document, Annex II of the BD is presented, which highlights species with strong declines in abundance over the last three decades.
These species should now be removed from the Annex II of the Bird Directive.