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Rare birds in Altai-Sayan Ecoregion are invited to live in boxes and om platforms

11 november 2022
The ornithologists built 30 nest-boxes and 20 platforms to raise chances of rare birds find a nesting place for breeding

In Southern Siberia, 50 artificial nests were installed in nesting areas of rare birds of prey in the Republics of Tyva and Altai.

Nests are boxes made of OSB-plate and platforms made of branches and sticks. Since 2017, more than 250 such artificial nests have been built in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion. The work of ornithologists is part of a long-term project of the WWF-Russia, the World Around You Foundation of Siberian Wellness and the Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network to conserve rare birds of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

Ornithologists and volunteers during construction of nextboxes and platforms
(c) WWF / Yury Kurochka
“This year we installed ten boxes in the remote high-mountainous Kosh-Agachsky region in the Altai Republic, where rare Altai Saker Falcons nest. Sailyugemsky National Park rangers joined the expedition and we taught them to assemble boxes on the rocks. In the future, the employees of the national park will be able to build new “homes” for the birds themselves,” says Igor Karyakin, head of Russian Raptors Research and Conservation Network.

Photos and videos of ornithologists and volunteers working in Altai are amazing: the builders are literally working over the abyss, attaching heavy boxes to the rocky surface. They not only need scientific background but also strength, dexterity and mountaineering skills.


Oleg Shiryaev, volunteer, assembling the nestbox on the rock

“Nesboxing is important in Kosh-Agach District of Altai Republic because here we have an area where Sailyugemsky National Park releases chicks of the rare saker falcon from captivity into the wild using the hacking method. First, the chicks from the nursery are placed in a special nesting box, where people put food for them, the birds get used to life in nature and later are released. Tracking the falcons with GPS-trackers proves that after the winter migration the birds return to the area where they were relapsed to breed. That is why it is necessary to put boxes similar to those in which they grew up, which they are used to and will look for to breed their chicks” says Alexander Karnaukhov, Senior Project Coordinator of the WWF Representative Office in the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.
Oleg Shiryaev, volunteer, assembling a nextbox on the rock for saker falcons.
(c) WWF / Igor Karyakin

The job of ornithologists to set nest boxes is called nestboxing. Long-term experience proves that the boxes successfully attract various species of birds of prey, including the rare saker falcon.

Oleg Shiryaev and Oleg Andreenkov, volunteersof RRRCN
(c) WWF / Yury Kurochka
“The climate is changing, people have strong impact on nature, fewer and fewer natural nesting places for birds of prey are suitable as trees are cut down, fields are plowed up, minerals are being mined. It is difficult for birds to find safe and suitable places to breed. We install artificial nests in places where there is enough prey for rare raptors. Nests are comfortable, durable and protect the chicks from the cold, wind and falling from the nest to the maximum even during bad weather and human pressure,” says Igor Karyakin, head of the Russian Raptors Research and Conservation Network.

Artificial nesting boxes and platforms help to increase the breeding success and survival of birds. Next season, ornithologists are planning a new stage of construction work to preserve rare birds.