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Премия рунета 2017

The number of stork nests is on the rise in the Amur River basin

21 june 2019
In the course of the Oriental stork survey in the Amur River basin, the researchers have recorded an unprecedented number of new nests and the high density of nest occupation by rare birds this year.

The Oriental stork survey is reaching its peak in the Russian part of its home range. With the support of WWF-Russia the researchers from Amurskaya, Evreiskaya and Khabarovsky provinces are examining the previously known stork nests and looking for new ones reaching them by ATVs, boats, unmanned aerial vehicles and on foot.

The survey has been already carried out in Amurskaya province in the areas traditionally inhabited by storks. Moreover, intermediate results demonstrate a considerable increase in the number of breeding pairs compare to the previous year.

The Oriental stork survey in Amurskaya province
Anton Sasin / WWF Russia / AmurSEU
“This year we observe storks in those locations where no birds have been seen before,” comments Anton Sasin, PhD, coordinator of the Oriental stork conservation of NGO AmurSEU. - For the first time nests were recorded in Svobodnensky district, on the right bank of the Zeya River, large nesting groups were counted in the Ivanovka River valley, the stork continues to spread along the power transmission line in Seryshevsky and Belogorsky districts. In general, we can speak of at least 40 new breeding pairs of birds compare to the last year. At the same time, we have not yet explored the most “stork” areas, the Amur River valley, Amursky and Muravyevsky Wildlife Refuges. The average size of chicks is quite large: in most of nests we observe from 3 to 5 chicks. We can already conclude that this year the stork population shows a significant growth on the Zeya-Bureya plain.”
The number of stork nests is on the rise in the Amur River basin
Anton Sasin / WWF Russia / AmurSEU

During the Oriental stork survey in Sheremetyevsky Nature Park of Khabarovsky province, specialists of Zapovedny Priamurye were amazed at the number of nests on this relatively small protected area. 

“I have been studying the Oriental stork for many years, but I have never seen anything like this: the maximum number of stork nests in sight reaches 12! - admires Rimma Andronova, PhD, the head of the scientific department of Zapovednoye Priamurye. – Annually, agricultural fires destroy poor oak forests, there is absolutely no undergrowth or shrubs, and stork nests of various size are located at a height of up to 8 meters. The examination of the nests showed that each has from 2 to 4 chicks, of course, there may be a problem with food for them - the territory simply cannot manage such a “stork” pressure. The urgent measures should be taken to save this territory from forest fires.”
The Oriental stork survey in Evreiskaya province
Yury Panin / NGO Bagulnik
The work on the recording of breeding pairs has already been completed in Evreiskaya province. In total, except for the territories of federal protected areas, 115 inhabited nests of the Oriental stork were counted, 85 of them are built on trees and 30 on power transmission towers. Each nest has about 2-3 chicks. During the monitoring activities, 8 new nests were discovered. The survey in Evreiskaya province was carried out by the experts of NGO “Bagulnik”, by volunteers and by the state inspectors of the Directorate for the Wildlife and Protected Areas Management of Evreiskaya province. The information about the presence and condition of breeding sites was also provided by fire brigade of the Birobidzhan airbase, as well as by the electric power company “DRSK”.
“During the survey, the current state of the nest is investigated, as well as the number of birds, the chicks or eggs in each nest. The obtained data is necessary for specialists to plan measures aimed at further increasing the number of rare bird population - creating new protected areas, mounting artificial nesting supports, working with energy companies to ensure safe nesting of storks on power lines, fire prevention of nesting supports. – comments Anna Serdyuk (Barma), senior project coordinator for protected areas of WWF Russia Amur branch.
The Oriental stork is one of the rarest birds in the Russian Far East. It is endangered and listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, IUCN, Annex I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Unlike the European stork, the Oriental stork avoids humans, builds nests away from people in remote places, on the outskirts of groves or detached trees near lakes, rivers or in vast marshes. Since 1998, the number of breeding pairs of Oriental storks in the Amur region has increased by 1.85 times.
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