Projects

Creation of the atlas «Birds of Moscow»
Breeding bird atlas of European Russia
Monitoring of common species of birds in European Russia
Monitoring of white stork’s nests
Preparation of the identification photo-guide of birds of the centre of European Russia
Unusual nesting sites
Keeping records of waterfowl and water-by birds in Moscow and the Moscow Region
Phenological observations
Observing birds on feed boxes

Atlas of the birds of Moscow City

 

 

M.V. Kalyakin, O.V. Voltzit & G. Groot Koerkamp. 2014. Atlas of the birds of Moscow City (in Russian and English). N.S. Morozov (ed.). Moscow, Fiton XXI.

ISBN 978-5-906171-52-8

 

 

The work on the Atlas of the birds of Moscow City has been finished. The book was published in 2014. The main body of the atlas consists of the distribution maps for each of the 226 species found in Moscow during 2006–2011. These are accompanied by brief species accounts in both Russian and English. The texts should add, not duplicate the information contained in the maps. The map pages contain one larger and two smaller maps. The first of the three maps presents information on the distribution and abundance of the species during the breeding season, colours are used to indicate the level of evidence for breeding. Abundance of breeding pairs is indicated by varying diameters of the black dots inside the tetrads. The upper of the two smaller maps shows the tetrads (marked in blue) in which the species was found at least once during the winter period. The lower map shows the maximum estimates of the number of individuals of a species recorded in a tetrad during the year, regardless of the season.

Project participants who had purposefully investigated the city squares and presented their reports for publication: V.P. Avdeev, A.S. Alimova, A.D. Bakumova, Yu.Yu. Blokhin, Yu.A. Buyvolov, O.I. Burtseva, E.Yu. Chekulaeva, M.M. Deev, D.V. Dmitriev, S.L. Eliseev, G.S. Eryomkin, A.S. Gavrikov, M.S. Gavrikova, I.V. Ganitsky, V.I. Grishin, G. Groot Koerkamp, A.P. Ivanov, N.G. Kadetov, A.A. Kadetova, M.V. Kalyakin, N.M. Kalyakina, Yu.N. Kasatkina, N.Yu. Khvoshchevskaya, K.I. Kovalyov, V.V. Kontorshchikov, V.A. Kopotiy, N.V. Kudryavtsev, I.V. Kuzikov, D.Zh. Kulenov, L.R. Kulenova, G.M. Kumanin, G.A. Kuranova, I.A. Lipilina, L.M. Lomonosova, K.A. Lyubimova, L.A. Madrid Khimenes, E.D. Milovidova, M.L. Milyutina, A.A. Morkovin, A.E. Nikiforov, D.M. Ochagov, I.M. Panfilova, E.L. Pevnitskaya, O.A. Pershin, P.G. Polezhankina, E.S. Preobrazhenskaya, Ya.A. Red`kin, A.G. Rezanov, G.A. Rezanov, V.S. Rudovsky, A.V. Sazonov, S.A. Skachkov, I.S. Smetanin, A.V. Tikhomirova, O.O. Tolstenkov, M.S. Shamin, E.V. Shevchenko, V.S. Shlyakhovaya, R.F. Shtaryov, E.S. Shchors, E.M. Valyaeva, A.E. Varlamov, G.M. Vinogradov, V.A. Vishnevsky, O.V. Voltzit, P.M. Voltzit, V.A. Zubakin.

Examples of Atlas pages

 

Breeding bird atlas of European Russia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results of April 2017

(including of European part of Kazakhstan)

 

 

 

 

 

Red dots: Complete data are available for the square (the species list with the breeding status and estimate of abundance) – 906;

Orange dots: Qualitative data are available for the square (the species list with the breeding status) – 119;

Yellow dots: Data for a part of the square are available – 86;

Green dots: Data have been promised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead organisations: The Zoological Museum of Moscow Lomonosov State University and the European Bird Census Council (EBCC)

Project partners: BirdLife International, Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Catalan Ornithological Institute, Czech Society for Ornithology, BirdsRussia

Project aims: To map the distribution of all species of breeding bird across the 1800 50 x 50 km grid squares in European Russia, using data from 2005 to 2017

Project outputs: Accurate mapping of Russian birds in the 2nd European Breeding Bird Atlas, and a groundbreaking Atlas of Breeding Birds of European Russia

Why do we need an atlas of breeding birds of Russia?
European Russia forms 40% of the area of the European continent. The first European Breeding Bird Atlas was unable to extend to accurate mapping of breeding birds across European Russia, thus leaving a huge and important gap in knowledge for education, scientific research and conservation action at a continental scale. Data on Russia’s birds will vastly increase our understanding the patterns of distribution and abundance of all European breeding bird species.

The new Russian Atlas is supported by the EBCC and its partners, and the participation of hundreds of Russian observers, with more expected to contribute from abroad. Using new analytical approaches maps of range and relative abundance will be created for over 410 species, allowing the first robust assessment of the status of birds in Russia, many of which are of global significance. In addition the Atlas will build capacity for conservation and monitoring in Russia. And we believe that it will come true!

 Atlas methods
Targeted surveys will be carried out in preselected 50 ? 50 km squares following set protocols to ensure efficient coverage of the maximum number of squares.

All published and unpublished resources of data on breeding birds of European Russia for 2005–2017 will be incorporated.

Once fieldwork is complete sophisticated and cutting-edge statistical analyses will enable maps to be created for species ranges throughout European Russia; a huge area, making this an exciting and ambitious project.

The project is already supported by:

European Bird Census Council

MAVA Foundation in Switzerland

Swiss Ornithological Institute

Swedish Ornithological Society (Ulf Ottosson, Richard Ottvall, Johan Elmberg, Martin Green, Rolf Gustafsson, Fredrik Haas, Niklas Holmqvist, Åke Lindström, Leif Nilsson, Mikael Svensson, Sören Svensson and Martin Tjernberg)

NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union)

Colleague from Catalan Ornithological Institute (Sergi Herrando, Lluis Brotons, Joan Estrada, Marc Anton)

BirdsRussia

Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow

How you can help:

  • By volunteering to carry out fieldwork.
  • By making a financial contribution towards costs, such as fieldwork expenses, the Atlas Secretariat and the creation and operation of the Atlas website.
  • The contributions of participants and sponsors will be mentioned in promotional material, the website, and the final Atlas.

To send your contribution, you may use the following Yandex-Money account: 410011853158479
Please indicate your name and the name of the project that you intend to support!

 

Results of 2013  Results of 2014  Results of 2015   Results of 2016

 

Monitoring of common species of birds in European Russia

The project is a part of all-European program in which more than 20 countries are involved (http://www.ebcc/pecbm.html). The purpose of the project is monitoring of common species of birds in their typical habitats.

Monitoring of common species of birds has been carried out in some European countries since 1980s. Since 2002 it has become the part of all-European program in which more than 20 countries are involved (http://www.ebcc/pecbm.html). The primary objective of this program is identification of the trends and the amount (indexes) of changes in the number of common species of birds as the indicators of the habitat status – not only for particular regions and countries but for Europe as a whole. It goes without saying that generalization of information for Europe without taking into account the trends of changes in the number of birds in European Russia (considering our vast territory and social and economic changes that are in many ways different from other European countries) leads to grossly distorted, and more often, to erroneous results. That’s why European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and BirdLife International are greatly concerned about Russia’s involvement into the international monitoring. From our point of view we have all the conditions despite our vast territory and lack of ornithologists. Indeed many of us can do (or they are already doing) simple counting of common species of birds together with their basic fieldwork , during students’ field practice, summer trips with young naturalists or during their holiday in the country. Our task is to collect different pieces of information into the single «piggy bank» which will help to create an general picture for European Russia.

The basic requirements for the participation in all-European monitoring are: good knowledge of common species of birds and annual counting work on the same routes.

The places for choosing counting routes must be typical for your region (district). One shouldn’t try to do the counting in some special places that are rich in birds or hard to get (reservations, important bird areas). The more typical the habitat is – the more significant information is as a result.

Monitoring of common species of birds is the important and necessary task. It’s quite feasible and interesting not only for professional ornithologists but for experienced amateurs as well. Russia cannot be, and is not meant to be, in the background of this all-European program. Apart from its scientific interest the monitoring has undoubtedly practical environment-oriented value. Indeed, without the knowledge of dynamics and indexes of changes in the number we cannot identify vulnerable species, species with bad tendencies (among common species) and we cannot make well-reasoned presentation for officials and strive for effective measures aimed at protection of these species.

The curators of the project: director of Zoological Museum of Moscow State University Mikhail Kalyakin (kalyakin@zmmu.msu.ru) and senior research fellow of Zoological Museum of Moscow State University Olga Voltzit (voltzit@zmmu.msu.ru)

Monitoring of white stork’s nests

The purpose of the project is monitoring (long-run tracking) of nests of white stork that are already known in Moscow region and searching of its new nesting sites.

The curator of the project: Katrina Shamina (mobirds@mail.ru)

Preparation of the identification photo-guide of birds of the centre of European Russia

 The work on the full identification photo-guide of birds in European Russia has been finished. The book was published in «Fiton XXI» edition in 2012.

The six-year project aimed on preparation of the full identification photo-guide of birds in European Russia has been successfully finished. A three-volume book was published in «Fiton XXI» edition.

The second edition of photo-guide was published in 2014.

For each of 483 species there were made full descriptions of coloring and definitive characteristics of each species, maps of their natural habitats as well as pictures illustrating sex and age differences and seasonal feather change. The texts are written by professional ornithologists, the pictures are made by the best animal photographers of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Bulgaria, Israel, Holland, Germany and other countries of the former Soviet Union and beyond. The image bank of the program has about 15000 pictures, nearly 2500 of these pictures had been used in the identification guide.

Unusual nesting sites

Birds living close to humans learnt to use different artificial constructions and buildings as the places to nest.

Birds which have been living close to humans learnt to use different constructions and buildings as the places to nest. The first descriptions of unusual nesting sites date back to 1960s (Grishin A.V., 1964 – the nest of Great Tit in the metal tube; Morozova G.V. and Samoylov B. L., 1967 – the nests of White Wagtail and Common Redstart in street lighting poles). It is known that in Moscow and Moscow region there are 16 species of birds that have unusual nesting places, but until the end of 1990s there was little information about that.

Now thanks to the large number of observers who take part in the program «Birds of Moscow and Moscow region» and in creation of «The atlas of birds of Moscow» there is a possibility to get more detailed information about nests in various man-made constructions.

We invite you to take part in gathering of some unusual and interesting facts. Send your messages and pictures to the curator of the project or to the program’s forum to the topic «Nesting in poles, buildings and other unusual places». Please name the place where the nest was found (country, region, in Moscow – numbers of the street and the house, the name of the park, etc.)

The curator of the project: Irina Panfilova (panf-ira@yandex.ru)

Keeping records of waterfowl and water-by birds in Moscow and the Moscow Region

Winter counting in Moscow has been running since 1984. The annual counting of waterfowl birds in Moscow region has been done since 2003.

Winter counting of waterfowl and water-by birds in Moscow has been done since 1984. Moscow is famous for having a big winter stay of mallard. However apart from this species there are also more than 15 species of waterfowl and water-by birds that were noticed on the non-freezing ponds of the city.

Summer counting of broods of waterfowl birds has been done in Moscow since 1998. The counting takes place in July and covers all the water courses and ponds of the city.

The curator of the counting: a scientist of Vertebrate Zoology department of Biological faculty of Moscow State University Kseniya Avilova (wildlife@inbox.ru)

The counting of waterfowl birds in the Moscow Oblast has been done on the non-freezing parts of the Moskva river from the city’s limits to the river’s outfall and on the section of the Oka from the Moskva river’s outfall to Korobcheevo since 2003. In 2008 and 2009 the counting covered all the winter months – December, January, February. Since 2010 there have been 4 countings – in winter months and in March.

The curator of the counting: the president of the Russian Bird Conservation Union Viktor Zubakin (vzubakin@yandex.ru)

Phenological observations

We are collecting both the reports on the encounters with birds and on their nesting and the information on various seasonal patterns concerning not only the birdlife, but also life of other animals, plants and phenological issues of inorganic nature. The information upon the number of food items, such as the population of rodents and the harvest of various fruits and strobiles, is particularly important.

We are collecting both the reports on the encounters with birds and on their nesting and the information on various seasonal patterns concerning not only the lifes of birds, but also those of other animals, plants and phenological issues of inorganic nature. This includes the winter temperatures that can be too low or, on the contrary, alarmingly hot: the data on food plants’ harvest and even such phenological issues, as frondescence and the appearance of the first butterflies. These details give a general overview on the annual cycle of nature.

We need to collect as much information as possible to establish links and to outline the patterns of different acts of nature. This is why in spring 2006 a new project was launched. It is aimed at systematized observations on phenological issues.

We hope that this project will help to work out the following tasks:

collecting and saving the information on various seasonal patterns concerning the lives of birds, e of other animals, plants and phenological issues of inorganic nature;

collecting and saving the information upon the numbers of various food objects in different years;

the comparison of seasonal patterns and other factors of different periods;

the establishment of a widely-branched net of observers, allowing to describe meticulously various events, such as the arrival of spring in the Moscow region. It would also help to correct the accidental mistakes, such as an unusually early bloom of a plant, and to minimize the risk of missing something – if anything can be omitted by one of the observers, it will be definitely recorded by others.

The project supervisor: Peter Voltzit (PetrVolzit@yandex.ru)

Observing birds on feed boxes

Anyone can participate in this project. You can feed birds on your balcony, in your backyard, or in the numerous squares and parks. Afterwards you can send us your reports on peculiar observations and share your experience on the program’s forum.

It is no secret that feeding birds in winter is noble deed. Even if you forget for a moment about the trivial idea of the way it helps birds to overcome the harsh winter period, you just can’t miss the mere aesthetic pleasure of watching the birds feeding – such House Sparrows or Great Tits. And be ready to find even more species!

The variety of feeding birds

Let us first enumerate the species that have already been seen on feed trays and in the nearby area. To simplify it, we can divide the list into three categories: classic visitors of the feed boxes, rare and unusual visitors, and occasional visitors.

Classic feed box visitors:

Great Tit is probably the most common feed box visitor. Blue Tit frequents feed boxes as eagerly as Great Tit does, but it is not seen that often due to lower population. House Sparrow can be qualified as an ordinary visitor in urban areas, though it needs time to get used to complex constructions. Tree Sparrow can be an ordinary visitor in highly populated areas. Rock Dove is attracted even by the feed boxes that have an inconvenient construction (for instance, those that are made of milk boxes). Hooded Crow tears feed boxes made of milk packs apart. Eurasian Nuthatch never misses the opportunity to feed from a feed box – not only eats it there, but also saves seeds obtained there, i.e. grains and even pieces of bread. Great Spotted Woodpecker can be an ordinary regular feed box visitor. Sometimes woodpeckers sit at certain spots while eating (those “feeding spots” vary for each individual). Eurasian Bullfinch is described as an ordinary visitor, but according to our observation, it needs time to get used to feed boxes. These birds are often seen eating berries and buds in the nearby areas.

Rare and unusual feed box visitors:

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sometimes uses feed boxes, especially in the country side. According to our data, it happens rather irregularly. Common Redpoll often picks up crumbs and other leftovers from the tits. They can as well learn to eat from the feed box. European Greenfinch can pick up seeds left by tits and can also eat seeds itself. Hawfinch can’t be generally seen at feed boxes, but certain birds visit them regularly. Siskin usually picks up leftovers under feed boxes. European Goldfinch usually picks up leftovers under feed boxes in winter and in summer. Common Linnet usually picks up leftovers under feed boxes in summer. Jay tears feed boxes made of milk packs apart and frequents house feed boxes. Magpie often breaks feed boxes, turns them upside down. Long-tailed Tit is attracted by the nearby feed boxes, picks up leftovers under feed boxes. Coal Tit – visits feed boxes in the countryside regularly in spite of a low population, especially near a pine forest. Willow Tit can be rarely seen near a feed box in urban area, but often visits countryside feed boxes, especially near a pine forest. Waxwing usually visits the area near a feed box, eating berries and buds from the trees. Chaffinch takes its time to learn to pick up seeds from a feed box. Fieldfare usually picks up leftovers under feed boxes in winter. Middle Spotted Woodpecker can be rarely seen at feed boxes, probably due to its low population. White-backed Woodpecker can be seen at a feed box if it is common in the nearby area. Nutcracker can be rarely seen at feed boxes, probably due to its low population.

Occasional feed box visitors:

Sparrowhawk can be attracted to a feed box by potential victims. Grey-headed Woodpecker sometimes can be seen near a feed box attracted by other birds’ activity.

Probably, this list is far from being completed. We are expecting reports on birds feeding in the nearby areas, as well as on those who do not use fed boxes to eat but are attracted by other birds’ excited behaviour.

What are the advantages of a feed box?

First of all, a feed box can help to analyse more thoroughly the variety of species in a particular area. Secondly, even an irregularly filled feed box can contribute to increasing this variety in the nearby area. Feed boxes are particularly popular in the countryside area especially near a forest.

When should the birds be fed?

Russian books on birds highlight the necessity of feeding birds in winter. However, foreign authors advise to feed birds the whole year round. It makes sense since then one can see birds migrating through the area (Brambling) and those staying over summer periods as well as the common species. In spring and in autumn observations may provide you with some phenological data, especially on the dates of migration of various birds’ species. Quite often birds bring their chicks to the feed boxes in order to feed them and to show them around, therefore, feeding birds can help to prove the nesting of a certain species in the area.

The project supervisor: Peter Voltzit (PetrVolzit@yandex.ru)