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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Is it possible to see someone other than crows and sparrows without leaving your own yard, why are tits ringing and how to find out the nightingale’s singing – in this article.

April 1 is the day when not only funny jokes are expected, but also flooded trills. International Bird Day is celebrated in Russia today. For the first time, this holiday was celebrated in 1926 in Moscow – young naturalists took part in the installation of birdhouses on Vorobyovy Gory, and Vladimir Mayakovsky himself helped them. The poet drew posters and came up with a slogan: “We are waiting for you, comrade bird, why aren’t you flying?”

About how the International Day of Birds is celebrated in the Biological Museum named after K.A. Timiryazeva, said Maria Rakhcheeva, deputy director of the museum and an ornithologist. She also gave some tips for novice birdwatchers who like to watch birds.

“Feathered weekend”

Biological Museum named after K.A. Timiryazeva celebrates Bird Day every year on the weekend closest to April 1. The holiday called “Feathered Weekend” this year will be held on Sunday, April 4.

Last year it was held online, and this year guests are expected at the museum, but restrictions will apply: all visitors will need to wear a mask and gloves, and maintain social distance. The celebration is planned for the whole day. To distribute the flow of guests, “Feathered Weekend” will be held in sessions lasting half an hour. You need to buy a ticket in advance… The number of tickets is limited.

The program includes quizzes, interactive lessons, informative presentations. One of the most interesting events is a bird ringing workshop, which Maria Rakhcheeva invented a few years ago. She, according to tradition, will conduct it.

With a ring on the foot

Ringing is part of an ornithologist’s work to research the lifestyle of rare bird species. A special ring stores all the information about the bird and later tells about it to scientists in other cities and countries.

To ring a bird, you need to catch it. This is done very, very carefully. Specialists use special traps: either thin nets, or strikers – small cages, the doors of which are automatically closed as soon as a bird enters there. Traps are often set up near feeders.


Before you put the ring on the foot, you need to determine the type of bird. Only an ornithologist can do this unmistakably – he can easily distinguish, for example, a great tit from a muscovy. Outwardly, these two birds are very similar, but they also have differences – for example, in the great tit, the black breast continues with a strip on the abdomen.

Each ring has an individual number. They are given out only to scientists who are engaged in ringing. You can get rings in Russia in one place – the ringing center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The ring remains with the new owner forever. There is no need to worry: it is made of aluminum, so it is very light and does not bring any discomfort to the bird, it can safely wear it on its paw for the rest of its life.

All data are recorded in a special ringing log: where and when the bird was caught, its species, ring number, additional features (sex, age, wing and tail measurements, molting stage). You can even determine whether the bird has fat reserves – there is a certain place where fat accumulates, its volume and will answer the question.

Thanks to ringing, it is possible to track migration routes. Experts can see what kind of flight the birds made. Moreover, sometimes it is possible to find out in what composition they migrate.

“It happens that a bird ringed here, in this part of Russia, ends up somewhere in Africa or Europe. I remember this case: a bird caught in Chuvashia was caught in Latvia, at a biological station near Riga. By the individual number, the specialists understood where she was from and sent us a report, ”explained Maria Rakhcheeva.

She has the greatest experience: she has ringed about three thousand long-tailed tits. Before coming to the museum, Maria worked at biological stations, where she supervised students. She is an ecologist by profession, her thesis was devoted to the migration strategies of birds. Now, due to her tight work schedule, Maria Rakhcheeva does not have much time for scientific work.

“It is now turning into a hobby that I do in my free time, on vacation,” she says. – I allow myself to go to the biological station in the Chuvash Republic, where I spent many years studying the migration of birds. These are short trips for fun. Last time I was there in August last year. “

A little about birdwatching

Finches have already begun to actively fly to Moscow, and very soon the first buntings, starlings and larks will appear. In the next two weeks, the bulk of migratory species will return, many of them. First, those who eat grains and fruits return, including those left over from last year. These are the finches, so we see them first. The next step will be the arrival of insectivores – insects will soon begin to wake up. Flycatchers and swifts will be the last to arrive.

You don’t have to go somewhere to meet rare birds – sometimes they can be found in Moscow as well. On the capital’s ponds, you can see a mandarin duck – a small duck listed in the Red Book of Russia. They are found on ponds along the Yauza. You can go birdwatching, or bird watching, absolutely in all parks in Moscow and even just in the courtyards, Maria Rakhcheeva is sure.

“Walking in the courtyards, you can see more than just sparrows and crows,” she says. “We have calculated that there are about 10-12 bird species on the territory of the museum.”

Some birds prefer conifers, while others prefer deciduous ones. There is no specific place in the city where all birdwatchers go, the parks are very different. In the Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences, you can find four species of owls: long-eared owl, passerine owl, long-tailed owl and gray owl. The Stroginsky backwater is a very popular place, where you can see coastal swallows, kingfishers, golden eagles. In the forest park “Kuskovo” it is interesting to watch the grebe.

“Very often I visit the Losiny Ostrov National Park – the territory is well protected, you can find a lot of species there. I also like to observe my favorite ogres, or long-tailed tits, in the city. They are listed in the Red Book of Moscow. A couple of years ago, a flock of police officers flew my way near the Novoslobodskaya metro station, it happened on my birthday. Here is such a gift from them, ”smiles Maria Rakhcheeva.

In order to listen to the nightingale, you need to find shrub areas, preferably near water bodies. Nightingales come from the wintering, which they spend in Africa, and usually settle in the same places. They are found throughout Moscow, there are no certain places where birds would live in especially large numbers.

The singing of the nightingales cannot be confused with any other, if only because it is heard only in the evening and at dawn. In different eras, these birds have inspired poets, prose writers and composers. The songs of experienced males (and only they sing) consist of 12-15 knees – trills, whistles and clicking. By the way, the older the male, the more varied his song.

In the early evening, you can also hear the song thrush, which sings during the day. However, his song is not as rich and varied as that of the nightingale.

In May, the Russian Union for the Conservation of Birds is holding an action “Nightingale Nights”. Everyone is invited to go to the nearest territory near the house and count how many nightingales they will hear. And then report on this by filling out a special form on the union’s website.

“The action refers to the so-called civic science – when residents of the city are involved in scientific work. They help scientists to conduct research on the number of the species, ”explains Maria Rakhcheeva.

Cats and dogs can be dangerous to nightingales. These birds build nests in the grass and are often ruined by pets. Remember the place where the nightingale was listened to in the spring, and during the summer, do not let your pet run there while walking.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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