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Премия рунета 2017

Crane census results are summed up in the Amur River basin

11 september 2020
The census of the white-naped crane and the red-crowned crane, the rarest crane species in the Amur River basin, in their key habitats, as well as on flyways is the main event of the Year for Cranes 2020.

Despite the fact that cranes are one of the rarest bird species, a systematic survey of their numbers, distribution areas, and the number of breeding pairs has not been conducted for a very long time, which makes it difficult to understand the factors affecting the number of birds and take measures to protect them.

White-naped cranes in Amurskaya province
Anton Sasin / AmurSEU / WWF Russia
According to Anna Serdyuk (Barma), PhD, senior coordinator on protected areas at WWF Russia Amur branch:
“The white-naped crane and the red-crowned crane, as well as the Oriental stork, are indicators of the well-being of the Amur freshwater ecosystems. Having obtained data from the main crane habitats, as from separate puzzles, we have to put together a whole picture in order to understand how well the cranes are in the Amur ecoregion, - In spring and summer. The crane census was carried out on migration and breeding sites in the Amur basin. Cranes build their nests on the ground, in the floodplains of wetlands, which are very difficult to reach. Therefore, the drones that WWF Russia purchased and handed over to the partners, became the main research tool, safe for birds, which helped to record interesting facts from the life of birds and collect unique photo and video material. For example, a significant number of nests of the white-naped crane became a real discovery for us: about 180 nests were found only in Amurskaya province! Although earlier, until 2020, during coordinated surveys, researchers never recorded more than 150 pairs throughout Russia. Next stage of the count will take place on migration routes and in places of concentrations, when the cranes will move from the Russian part of the Amur basin to wintering sites in China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula. In November 2020, the Crane Working Group will finalize the results of the census, assess population dynamics and identify strategically important conservation objectives. The well-being of these birds directly depends on the factors of anthropogenic impact”.
Red-crowned cranes in Amurskaya province
Anton Sasin / AmurSEU / WWF Russia

Crane census in Amurskaya province was carried out by the efforts of NGO AmurSEU, the Directorate of Protected Areas, the Khingansky Nature Reserve and the public organization “Khingan Keepers”.

Comments Anton Sasin, expert of NGO AmurSEU: “We have registered 169 nests of the white-naped crane in Amurskaya province on the Zeya-Bureya Plain. We have only 2 encountered 2 breeding pairs of the red-crowned crane: in Muravyovsky Wildlife Refuge and a pair with chicks near Amursky Wildlife Refuge. The concentrations and single individuals of non-breeding red-crowned, white-naped, hooded cranes and common cranes were also recorded.

During a survey on the territory of Evreiskaya province, 103 individuals of 3 crane species were recorded: 41 white-naped cranes, 25 hooded cranes, 25 red-crowned cranes. 

Migrating red-cowned cranes in Primorsky province
Dmitry Korobov
“In Primorsky province, a large flyway of waterbirds comes across the Khanka-Razdolnenskaya Plain, in the lower reaches of the Razdolnaya River, where ornithologists discovered the "bottleneck" of the flyway, which has been actively studied since 2003. In 2020, during the spring migration in the area of the Ussuriiskii station, 3 species of cranes were encountered, the most numerous of which was the white-naped crane, 1733 of them were counted, 155 red-crowned cranes were also recorded. The number of migratory cranes registered in the spring of 2020 was slightly lower than the average recorded in 2003-2007, which may be caused by various reasons: a change in the route or an earlier start of migration”, notes Anna Serdyuk, WWF Russia.

In Zabaikalsky province, the staff of Daursky and Sokhondinsky nature reserves have been conducting crane survey for the second year already.

“The last large-scale census of white-naped cranes in Zbaikalsky province in 2019 showed that due to the long-term drought of 2000-2010 and the drying up of most of the nesting wetlands, a noticeable redistribution of white-naped cranes took place. Almost all birds have moved outside the protected areas, including into the taiga zone, which is not typical for this species. As a result, the number and breeding success of cranes in this area decreased. But in 2019, in connection with the beginning of a new humid multi-year climatic period, a slow recovery of dry wetlands and the beginning of the return of white-naped cranes was noted in the Onon River basin. Therefore, for the timely organization of protection of newly emerging breeding sites, monitoring and regular surveys of previously known nesting areas are necessary in 2020 and subsequent years,” notes Anna Serdyuk, WWF Russia.
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