Ornithological Force

Last weekend the reserve held a complex autumn animal census. This time the reserve research scientists got some help from volunteers.

A team of the reserve science department’s staff, Master Degree students and graduates from the Moscow State University and the Moscow State Pedagogical University, the stuff of the MSU Zoological Museum and Pushchino Scientific Center walked five routes, at which they have collected the data on the amount of ungulates and some other mammals, and have also confirmed the data on the low number of fowl-like birds.

The evening and night time was devoted to the owl census, one of the most difficult subjects for observation and account in their natural habitat, as most owl species are completely nocturnal. Their silent flight and reserved behavior for most of the year pose a serious obstacle to studying many areas of this animals’ lives. In this case, scientists resort to a method of record playback of different species’ voices in various parts of the route, an answer to which is recorded.

The work was conducted at dusk and even at night: together the experts have noticed eight tawny owls, which is quite a high marker, one Eurasian pygmy owl, and also a very rare for our area Ural owl, which was identified by its voice.

The organization of such events with the involvement of a large number of third-party experts provides an extensive and objective material on the amount and distribution of various animals in the reserve and its surroundings at the particular time period. Next year the cooperation will continue, and in the spring of 2017 the reserve is going to hold a repeated owl monitoring as well as other census work.

On the next day the volunteers traditionally could enjoy an organized tour in the Bison Breeding Centre and the Museum of Nature. The staff of the reserve would like to kindly thank all the volunteers for their help and express a hope for a further friendship and cooperation.