Fowl-like Birds Counted in the Reserve

On October 27, 2016 the reserve held a fowl-like bird census. This widely-spread order includes the wood grouse, the black grouse, the hazel grouse and the grey partridge.

The events on fowl-like bird census are conducted in autumn, after the fall of the leaf, when you can easily look through the forest, and also when young birds start flying and being easily seen. The mere process of the census requires a high level of attention and precision. To conduct the census, the route which was 53 km this time was chosen. This distance is divided into five separate zones, 10-12 km each. The group of census-keepers in each zone consists of three people: one walks in the centre, two walk on both sides, which helps to observe a hundred-meter stripe and spring up the birds, if they hide on the ground.

This year the census was conducted under the supervision of the head research scientist M.M.Zablotskaya. The main census-keepers included state reserve protection inspectors and four well-trained volunteers from Puschino, who have been helping the reserve for a while.

The census results appeared to be lower than in the past several years. In 53 km census route, the keepers met one female wood grouse, three hazel grouses and five grey partridges on the south-western border of the reserve. No black grouse was noticed during the census. However, it is noteworthy that the census is not an absolute marker of the whole population. It is due to the fact that a part of fowl-like birds can be met on the roads of the reserve where they peck stones for a better digestion.

According to the staff, the main reason for the drop in population numbers in the recent decade is a negative effect of a large amount of wild boars in the reserve. They take fowl-like bird nests, if they are placed on the ground. Often boars eat not only the eggs, but also their mother, if she tightly sits on the nest. Fowl-like birds are not the only victims, other birds nesting on the ground also suffer: the leaf warbler, the tree pipit and the European nightjar.

The whole population of birds in Serpukhov region is, in general, not big, also, due to the fact that they are a subject for hunting. The authors of the Red Book of the Moscow Region (Endangered Species List) try to achieve an endangered status for the wood grouse, but hunting organisations protest. It is quite possible that soon it will be necessary to include the hazel grouse in this list too, as their population has decreased ten times as it used to be in the sixties.