Address: Miera Street 3, Salaspils, Latvia, LV-2169 Email: Head: Dr. biol. Oskars Keišs  Staff:  11 employees, including four Dr.biol. Main research activities of the laboratory cover different aspects of bird life and their habitats, such as population ecology and demography, migration and wise use of bird resources. Studies are carried out mainly in two territories: Latvian National Long-term Ecological Research Network site (water ecosystems of Lake Engure Nature park), and 2) Pape Ornithological station (migration of birds and bats). The main objectives are to explain the factors directly or indirectly influencing changes in bird numbers, including anthropogenic impacts, climate changes, hunting etc. Besides, practical recommendations in prevention of negative effects and maintaining of biodiversity are developed. Main research directions
  • Dynamics of Latvian avifauna
  • Waterbird population ecology and demography
  • Migration of birds and bats
  • Protection of birds and their habitats
  • Habitat management
Current activities Employees of laboratory take part in projects related to research of game waterbirds (breeding success and influencing factors, implementation of artificial nest sites, amount and influence of hunting), wintering water birds, seabirds, White Stork, Black Stork, Corncrake, Aquatic Warbler, and migrations of bats and passerines. The Latvian Ringing centre is a part of the laboratory providing maintenance of database necessary for studies. Involvement in education Employees of Laboratory  take part in education of Master of Science and Bachelor students in Latvian University and Latvian University of Agriculture. Main achievements Elaboration of special rings for newly-hatched ducklings enabled wide studies of migration and population demography of ducks (about 110 000 ringings, 10 000 re-traps on nests, 8000 random
  • recoveries since 1960s). Recently this method is introduced in other countries as well.
  • Revealed population dynamics self- regulation regularities which are decisive for long-term and wise use of bird populations, their protection or number control.
  •  Methods developed for increasing of nesting habitat capacity and breeding success of water birds.
  • Enriched competence in migration patterns of birds and bat.
Consultative activities
  •  Developing of recommendations for increasing of biological capacity of bird habitats.
  • Assessment of impacts of economic activities on birds and their habitats.
  • Consultations related to different practical questions about birds and th eir protection.
International cooperation Investigations on Lake Engure are part of International Long-term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network. Sustained cooperation with OMPO (Migratory Birds of the Western Palearctic; European Institute for the Management of Wild Birds and their Habitats) is taking part due to studies of game water birds. Field stations The Engure Ornithological Research Centre is located in the Lake Engure Nature Park, Eastern coast of the lake, about 100 km NE from Riga. The centre has a floating station and facilities on the shore (7 rooms each), 12 m high observation tower on island. It supports ornithological (since 1958), hydrobiological, botanical and entomological investigations and monitoring. It is available for guest researchers as well. The Pape Ornithological Field Station is located between Lake Pape and the Baltic Sea, about 300 km SW from Riga. It has several summer houses, a Heligoland bird trap, and a bird watching tower. Since 1967 monitoring of migrating birds and mass-scale trapping and ringing of migrating birds, also nocturnal migrating birds (especially owls) and bats have been conducted. Many professional and amateur ornithologists, schoolchildren and students have worked here, learning about birds and research methods. The facilities of the station are available for guest researchers. Latvian Ringing Centre The Latvian Ringing Centre is a legacy of the Latvian Ornithological Centre, founded in 1925. It manages all the ringing material accumulated in Latvia since 1925 (about 1.6 million birds ringed, and 45 000 random recoveries of Latvian ringed birds, and 6000 recoveries of birds ringed abroad), organises bird ringing, and supports research projects using rings. The Latvian Ringing Centre (email: is a member of EURING (The European Union for Bird Ringing). Selected publications   FRAIXEDAS, S., LINDEN, A., MELLER, K., LINDSTRÖM, A., KEIŠS, O., KALAS, J.A., HUSBY, M., LEIVITS, M. and LEHIKOINEN, A., 2017. Substantial decline of Northern European peatland bird populations: Conequences of drainage. Biological Conservation, 214, pp. 223-232. FOX, A.D., CAIZERGUES, A., BANIK, M.V., DEVOS, K., DVORAK, M.,  ELLERMAA, M., FOLLIOT, B., GREEN, A.J., GRÜNEBERG, C., GUILLEMAIN, M., HÅLAND, A., HORNMAN, M., KELLER, V., KOSHELEV, A.I., KOSTIUSHYN, V.A., KOZULIN, A., LAWICKI, L., LUIGUJÕE, L., MÜLLER, C., MUSIL, P., MUSILOVÁ, Z., NILSSON, L., MISCHENKO, A., PÖYSÄ, H., ŠČIBAN, M., SJENIČIĆ, J., STIPNIECE, A., ŠVAŽAS, S. and WAHL, J., 2016. Recent changes in the abundance of Common Pochard Aythya ferina breeding in Europe. Wildfowl, 66, pp. 22-40.  BRIEDIS, M. and KEIŠS, O., 2016. Extracting historical population trends using archival ringing data—an example: the globally threatened Aquatic Warbler. Journal of Ornithology 157 (2): 419-425. KAZARINA, A., JAPIŅA, K., KEIŠS, O., SALMANE, I., BANDERE, D., CAPLIGINA, V. and RANKA, R., 2015. Detection of tick-borne encephalitis virus in I. ricinus ticks collected from autumn migratory birds in Latvia. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 6(2), pp. 178-180. KONOVALOV, A., KALDMA, K., BOKOTEV, A., BROSSAULT, P., CHAPALAIN, F., DMITRENOK, M., DZYUBENKO, N., VÄLI, Ü., STRAZDS, M. and STERNA, L., 2015. Spatio-temporal variation in nestling sex ratio among the Black Stork Ciconia nigra populations across Europe. Journal of Ornithology, 156(2), pp.381-387. STRAZDS, M., BAUER, H. G., VÄLI, Ü., KUKĀRE, A. and BARTKEVIČS, V., 2015. Recent impact of DDT contamination on Black Stork eggs. Journal of Ornithology, Supplement: 1   pp. S187-S198. CAPLIGINA, V., SALMANE, I., KEIŠS, O., VILKS, K., JAPINA, K., BAUMANIS, V. and  RANKA, R., 2014. Prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from migratory birds in Latvia. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 5(1), pp. 75-81. FOURCADE, Y., KEIŠS, O., RICHARDSON, D.S. and SECONDI, J., 2014. Continental-scale patterns of pathogen prevalence: A case study on the corncrake. Evolutionary Applications, 7(9), pp. 1043-1055.  KRÜGER, F., CLARE, E.L., SYMONDSON, W.O.C., KEIŠS, O. and PETERSONS, G., 2014. Diet of the insectivorous bat Pipistrellus nathusii during autumn migration and summer residence. Molecular ecology, 23(15), pp. 3672-3683.  MELECIS, V., KĻAVIŅŠ, M., RŪSIŅA, S., SPRIŅĢE, G., VĪKSNE, J., KRIŠJĀNE Z. and STRĀĶE, S., 2014. Conceptual model of the Long-term SocioEcological Research Platform of Engure ecoregion, Latvia. Proc. Latvian Academy of Sciences, Sect.B, 68(1/2), pp 1-19.  DUESER, R.D., MONCIERIEF, N.D., KEIŠS, O., MARTIN, J.D., PORTER, J.H.and TRUITT, B.R., 2013. Overwater Movement of Raccoons (Procyon lotor) in a Naturally Fragmented Coastal Landscape. Northeastern Naturalist, 20(3), pp. 511–528. JANAUS, M. and STĪPNIECE, A., 2013. The White Stork in Latvia from 1934 to 2005. – White Stork populations across the world. Results of the VIth International White Stork Census 2004/05. National reports: 1-8 ŠILIŅŠ, R. and MEDNIS, A., 2013. Dažādu apsaimniekošanas pasākumu ietekme uz Engures ezeru un tā piekrastes ekosistēmām. Kļaviņš, M., Melecis, V. (red.), Grām: Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad. apgāds, 288- 293. VĪKSNE, J., 2013. Engures ezera ūdensputnus ietekmējošie faktori. Kļaviņš, M., Melecis, V. (red.). Grām: Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad. apgāds, 143.-173.  VOIGT C.C., SÖRGEL, K., ŠUBA, J., KEIŠS O., and PĒTERSONS, G., 2012., The insectivorous bat Pipistrellus nathusii uses a mixed-fuel strategy to power autumn migration. Royal Society Proceedings B, 279(1743), 3772-3778. HERRMANN, Ch., HARIO, M., TJERNBERG, M., THORUP, O., FEDOROV, V., KIECHBUSCH, J., STĪPNIECE, A. and STERNIK, L., 2011. Red List of Baltic Breeding Birds. Version November 2011. Helsinki Commission. Environment Protection Commission. 115 pp. SKOV, H., HEINĀNEN, S., ŽYDELIS, R., BELLEBAUM, J., BZOM ,S. A., DAGYS, M., DURICK, J., GARTHE, S., GRISHANOV, G., HARIO, M., KIECBUSH, J.J., KUBE, J., KURESOO, A., LARSSON, K., LUIGUJOE, L., MEISSNER, W., NEHLS, H.W., NILSSON, L., PETERSEN, I.K., ROOS, M.M., PIHL, S., SONNTAG, N., STOCK, A., STĪPNIECE, A. and WAHL, J. 2011. Waterbird Populations and Pressures in the Baltic Sea. TemaNord 2011 pp. 550. http// TUBELYTE, V., ŠVAŽAS, S., SRUOGA, A., BUTKAUSKAS, D., PALAUSKAS, A., BAUBLYS, V., VĪKSNE, J., GRISHANOV, G. and KOZULIN, A., 2011. Genetic diversity of tufted duck (Aythya fuligula, Anatidae) in Eastern Europe. – Central European Journal of Biology, 6(6), pp. 1044-1053. DOI: 10.2478/s11535-011-0083-z. VĪKSNE, J., JANAUS M. and MEDNIS A., 2011. Factors influencing the number of breeding water birds in Lake Engure, Latvia. Proc. Latvian Acad.  Sci., 65(5/6), 127-137. VĪKSNE, J., SVAZAS, S., CZAJKOWSKI, A., JANAUS, M., MISCHENKO, A., KOZULIN, A., KURESOO, A. and SEREBRYAKOV, V., 2010. Atlas of Duck Populations in Eastern Europe. Akstis, Vilnius. 199 p. ŽYDELIS, R., BELLEBAUM, J., ÖSTERBLOM, H., VETEMAA, V., SCIRMEISTER, B.,  STIPNIECE, A., DAGYS, M.,  van EERDEN, M. and  GARTHE, S., 2009. Bycatch in gillnet fisheries – An overlooked threat to waterbird populations. Biological Conservation, 142, pp.1269-1281. VĪKSNE, J., JANAUS, M. un  STĪPNIEKS, A., 2008. Ūdensputnu medības Kaņiera ezerā 1993. – 2005. gadā – dabas resursu nenoplicinošas izmantošanas piemērs. Grām: Aktuālā savvaļas sugu un biotopu apsaimniekošanas problemātika Latvijā., Rīga, lpp. 143-162. ĀDAMSONS, V., BERGMANIS, M., CELMIŅŠ, A., KAZUBIERNE, M., KAZUBIERNIS,  J., KUROČKINS, A., ĶUZE, J., LIEPA, A., LIPSBERGS, J., MATROZIS, R., OZOLS, E., PETRIŅŠ, A., SMISLOVS, V., STĪPNIECE, A., STRAZDS, M., VĪKSNE, J. un VINTULIS, V., 2006. Red. Strazds M., Ķuze J. Grām.:Ķemeru nacionālā parka putni. Jumava. 488 lpp VĪKSNE, J., 2006. Waterbirds bagged by hunters at the beginning of autumn hunting season on waterbodies of Latvia in 1993-2004, OMPO Newsletter,  26, pp. 5-14. VĪKSNE J., MEDNIS, A., JANAUS, M., and STIPNIECE, A., 2005. Changes in the breeding bird fauna, waterbird populations in particular, on Lake Engure (Latvia) over the last 50 years.  Acta Zoologica Lituanica , 15(2), pp. 188 – 194.  ŠVAŽAS, S., VĪKSNE, J., KURESOO, A. and KOZULIN, A. (Compilers) 2003. The Garganey and Shoveler in the Baltic States and Belarus. OMPO Special publication. Vilnius. 89 pp.  Staff of the Ornithological Laboratory 2016

Name, family name

 Academic position,

Study directions


scientific degree


Māra Janaus

Dr. biol., 

leading researcher

Population ecology, protection of birds; breeding success of the White Stork

Oskars Keišs

Dr.biol., leading researcher, 

head of lab.

Population ecology, migration and protection biology of birds

Māris Strazds

Dr.biol., leading researcher

Ecology and protection of the Black Stork; influence of economic activities on biodiversity; origin of Latvian bird names and history of their use

Antra Stīpniece

M Sc. biol., researcher

Population ecology and protection of birds; monitoring of wintering water birds, sea birds

Artūrs Laubergs

M Sc. biol., researcher

Population ecology, migration, protection of birds; birds in hunting management

Māra Kazubierne

M. Sc. biol.,  scient. assistant

Bird migration, ringing;

Donāts Spalis

scient. assistant

Protection of birds and their habitats

Jānis Bētiņš

B.Sc. biol., scient. assistant

Population ecology, migration, protection of birds; birds in hunting management

Ivo Dinsbergs

B.Sc. biol., scient. assistant


Population ecology, migration, protection of birds;
Linda Ose B.Sc. env., scient. assistant Black Stork population studies
Viesturs Vīgants

B.Sc. biol., scient. assistant


Population ecology,  protection of birds

Aivars Mednis

Dr.biol., techn. staff

Population ecology, migration, protection of birds

Rasma Aupmane

technical staff