The Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains are rightly acknowledged as one of the most important regions in Europe for birds. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains and adjacent parts of Aegean Thrace, including a remarkable 37 species of raptors (birds of prey). Not surprisingly, therefore, the region now incorporates numerous Important Bird Areas (IBAs) including 11 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Bulgaria and 13 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Greece. Together these help to preserve a large number of birds that have been declared Species of European Conservation Concern (SPEC).
Birds are not only one of the most visible and best appreciated parts of the wild fauna with which we share the world, they are also important biological indicators. Inhabiting in all eco-systems, birds occupy a high level in the food chain, and can thus help highlight environmental changes that might be occurring at lower trophic levels. Changes in bird populations can provide a very useful indication of broader environmental change. When birds start disappearing, it suggests that something is wrong with the environment as a whole and that urgent action is needed. NGO 'Wild Rodopi' is gathering new data on the geographical and seasonal distribution of birds in the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains, and studying the ecology of certain target species.