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Oriental storks are online again

25 march 2022
In March, specialists from NGO AmurSEU with the support of WWF Russia, installed online video cameras in two nests of Oriental storks in Amurskaya province. These rare birds have just returned to their breeding sites after wintering in China, and now we can observe them online from any place of the world.
Five years in a row, starting since 2018, WWF Russia and NGO AmurSEU have been conducting video surveillance of Oriental stork nests in Amurskaya province. Every year in spring, online cameras are installed in stork nests and broadcast until the beginning of autumn, when the feathered family with grown chicks leaves the nest. This year, a live video broadcast is being organized from two stork "apartments" - on an inactive power transmission line tower near the village of Tambovka and in the Berezovsky Wildlife Refuge. You can keep an eye on new settlers in real time on the Amurinfocenter - WWF’s portal of the Amur Ecoregion. Usually the birds arrive in pairs, but sit in the nest one by one. Therefore, now most often we can see only one stork in the nest.
The nest in the Berezovsky Wildlife Refuge
Oriental storks on the power transmission line tower near Tambovka village
Oriental storks are online again
NGO AmurSEU / WWF Russia
According to Anton Sasin, Ph.D, coordinator of the Oriental stork conservation program at NGO AmurSEU: “We have been monitoring the nest on a power transmission line tower near Tambovka since 2003, but it may have been built there even earlier. We have been installing cameras here every year since 2019. The nest was chosen by one of the early-to-arrive stork couples in Amurkaya province: storks appeared here on March 12 both last year and this year. The nest in the Berezovsky WR was built in 2015, and we started online monitoring in 2019. Stork nests are quite heavy: in August 2019, after heavy rains, the old nest on this tree fell down, and an urgent “repair” was required. In spring 2020, we made a platform for the nest on the tree, and the storks settled here again. Also in 2019, four chicks from this nest were tagged with GPS transmitters that are still working. The signals show that one of these storks has already arrived in Amurskaya province, and three are still in China.
Installing video cameras in the nests of Oriental storks in the Berezovsky Wildlife Refuge
The help of an industrial climber was needed to install an online camera on the nest near the village of Tambovka
Installing video cameras in the nests of Oriental storks
Anton Sasin / AmurSEU / WWF Russia
Moreover, using online video cameras environmentalists receive valuable information about the behavior of rare birds, they also continue to track the movement of Oriental storks tagged with GPS transmitters returning from “winter apartments”.
According to Anna Serdyuk, Ph.D, head of the Freshwater Ecosystems Department of WWF Russia Amur branch, chairman of the Russian Working Group on Oriental Stork: "The Oriental storks flyway lies between the two most important freshwater ecoregions - the Yangtze and the Amur. In 2018-2021, we tagged 136 Oriental stork chicks with GPS transmitters to track migration. Usually, these birds return to their breeding sites in Russia - in Primorsky, Khabarovsky, Amurskaya and Evreiskaya provinces - in late March-early April. As the tracking system for tagged Oriental storks shows, some of them have already arrived in the Amur basin, but 2/3 are still on the way. During their journey from wintering to breeding grounds, storks and other birds rely on a network of highly productive wetlands to rest, feed and store enough energy. In China, these are most often the protected areas.”
Some of the GPS-tagged Oriental storks have already arrived in the Amur basin, but 2/3 are still
Screenshot from a tracking system for the movement of Oriental storks with GPS transmitters