XIII International Ornithological Conference of North Eurasia

From 30 April to 6 May, 2010 in Orenburg (Russia) it was the held the 13th International Ornithological Conference of North Eurasia. Formerly, meetings of such kind were called the All-Union Conferences, but regardless of the name it is always a great event in the ornithological world.

This time the border between Europe and Asia gathered more than 200 ornithologists from the CIS countries. Compared with previous similar conferences in Kazan and Stavropol, it was participated by less number of ornithologists, as the meeting was held in the middle of the field season and Orenburg is a rather distant place to reach for most ornithologists. Nevertheless, it is nice to note that this international conference was attended by 13 ornithologists from Ukraine.

As for the conference structure, each day began with a plenary reports, and then it was held parallel work of several sections. Reports were heard on 15 sections, and, in addition, some reports were presented as posters. It was also a series of round-table discussions. To organize such a large-scale conference is a big job, and we would like to thank all the organizers, and above all a well-known birds of prey expert Anatoly Davygora. Among other positive aspects of the conference organization we would like to mention that all the information was placed at the website of Menzbir Ornithological Society. The original idea was daily broadcasting of the proceedings by students journalists, who prepared wonderful multimedia presentations and demonstrate them in-between sessions. Very convenient for the participants was the organization of daily sightseeing tours. And a special appeal of Orenburg were field trips offered in several variants and enjoyed by many participants.

Below we would like to pay a particular attention to presentations on the birds of prey.

Among the plenary sessions it should be noted a report of V.M. Galushin in co-authorship with A.B. Kostin (Moscow) about tolerant ornithology. This definition the authors understand as to study of birds by methods, minimizing the “investigation press” on their populations and communities. This aspect is of particular relevance for the study of birds of prey, which are sensitive to the research impact.
Presentation of the report: Galushin, V.M., Kostin, A.B. Tolerant Ornithology..
File size 167 KB.

The work of the section on birds of prey took place on 2 May.Conveners of the first part were V.M. Galushin and Yu.V. Milobog, second part – E.A.Rustamov, and A.V. Kuznetsov.
In the first, morning part, the following reports were presented.

Alexandr Sharikov (Moscow) gave a presentation on the peculiarities of population dynamics of birds of prey and small mammals in the northern and southern suburbs of Moscow. On the basis of nine yearm studies on two permanent plots it was analyzed the relationship of dynamics of Falconiformes and Strigiformes with abundance of small mammals. Among other things, it was found that:
− changes in the number of different species of breeding birds of prey at two permanent plots didn’t go synchronously;
− number dynamics of birds of prey is largely determined by peculiarities of specific conditions of a habitat, not just by the abundance of small mammals in a particular year;
− clear correlation between changes in the number of birds of prey and small mammals (as a whole and for individual species) was not detected, except for the Long-eared and Short-eared Owls;
− stable relationship of number dynamics of birds of prey is traced only if at once take into account fluctuations of abundance for several main prey species.
Presentation of the report: Sharikov, A.V., Volkov, S.V., Basova, V.B., Grinchenko, O.S., Ivanov, M.N., Makarov, A.V., Sviridova, T.V. Peculiarities of the number dynamics of birds of prey and small mammals in the northern and southern suburbs of Moscow.
File size 2.5 MB.

Evgeny Bragin (Naurzum Reserve) presented very interesting results of the study of summer concentrations of large raptors in Kazakhstan.Researchers have managed to combine visual methods of number estimation of such concentrations with analysis of genetic material derived from molting feathers of birds. In summer concentrations in Naurzum forest were simultaneously observe up to 50-60 Imperial Eagles, while the analysis of feathers has shown that in a single season this territory was visited by 287 individuals of this species. This fact indirectly confirms extensive migrations of immature birds within the area in searching for food. In favourable sites the Imperial Eagles can stay for a long time, forming a concentration. Today, this phenomenon remains poorly studied in relation to all birds of prey.
Presentation of the report: Bragin, E.A., Kattsner, T., Bragin, A.E. Summer concentrations of large birds of prey and a problem of estimating their numbers.
File size 15.4 MB.

Studies of Svetlana Korkinа (Penza) have showed that the construction of Penza (Surskoye) Reservoir, located in the forest-steppe zone, eventually led to increase in species diversity and density of breeding birds of prey. The situation is different within intrazonal sites of forest areas – with high rates of species diversity, population density is twice less than in the forest-steppe. An undoubted interest was caused by the news of finding four chicks in the second downy plumage in one nest of the White-tailed Eagle. The presentation has photos of this brood.
Presentation of the report: Korkina S.A. Formation of the population of birds of prey in intrazonal landscapes.
File size 9.7 MB.

Tatyana Makarova (Moscow) presented results of wintering concentrations of the Long-eared Owls in Moscow and some other regions of Russia. In the winter of 2009-2010 it was made the first attempt to coordinate the counts of these owls in cooperation with colleagues from other countries. The initiators of these works are ornithologists from Serbia, which developed a questionnaire to conduct censuses. The questionnaire was translated into Russian and adapted to the conditions of Russia. These studies overlap with the review of wintering Long-eared Owls, which we made recently at our website. We would like to express hope that from next year this project will involve Ukrainian ornithologists as well. Conference participants were interested in facts, mentioned in this report, of wintering of Short-eared Owls on trees together with Long-eared Owls.
Presentation of the report: Makarova, T.V., Sharikov, A.V. European project for monitoring of wintering Long-eared Owls and some results of this species study in Moscow.
File size 3.9 MB.

Stanislav Viter (Kharkiv), made a presentation on breeding success and productivity of the Imperial Eagle in the Seversky Donets river basin.During the years 2003-2009 eight pairs were under observation, breeding in forests of the Seversky Donets valley and 5 pairs of species in agricultural landscapes. The small sample size did not allow reliable conclusions, but found that breeding productivity was fairly stable, a slight increase of breeding success was registered. For birds in agricultural landscapes, it was observed a strong variation of the productivity of reproduction and breeding success.
Presentation of the report: (MS Power Point 2007 XML) Viter, S.G. Breeding success and productivity of the Imperial Eagle in the Seversky Donets basin.
File size 6.5 MB.

Viktor Belik (Rostov-on-Don) in collaboration with an amateur ornithologist, Valery Pimenov (Volgograd), made an interesting and colorful presentation on the Long-legged Buzzard in in the vicinity of Volgograd in Transvolga area. Amount of material collected by V.N. Pimenov is amazing. For 5 years it was surveyed approx. 3000 square kilometers, found 115 breeding sites, tracked 330 cases of breeding. This is despite the fact that most of the movements in hot arid deserts were carried by bicycle. Undoubted interest was caused by a picture the Long-legged Buzzard’s nests with 12 eggs. In recent years it had been found the Buzzard’s nests on the ground, which we saw ourselves during an expedition to Elton area after the Orenburg conference. In general, in the 2000s, despite the disappearance of sousliks and deterioration of breeding conditions in the Transvolga area, the Long-legged Buzzard continued distribution and growth of population. It began actively colonizing grown forest belts, as well as abandoned sheepyards, gardens and even residential villages.
Presentation of the report: Pimenov, V.N., Belik, V.P. Long-legged Buzzard in the vicinity of Volgograd in Transvolga area.
File size 64.4 MB.

In the second, evening part of sections on birds of prey, there were presented five reports.

The report of Alexandr Sokolov (Labytnangi City) was impressive in respect to results and emotionality. He told about satellite tracking of Peregrines breeding on the Yamal Peninsula. It turned out that the Peregrines breeding in unpopulated tundra, may spend the winter in a very crowded places. One male spent the winter at a rather limited area in the city of Baghdad (Iraq). A female spent the winter in a resort town in Portugal. Another female flew the longest distance of migration – she wintered in Africa in the Sudan. It turned out that the migration distance of this falcon does not depend on the time duration of migration.
Presentation of the report: , A.A.., Dixon, E., Sokolov. V.A. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus calidus) on the south-western Yamal Peninsula: results of satellite tracking.

Petr Tilba (Sochi) presented the results of long-term studies of number dynamics and ecology of Peregrine Falcons in the North Caucasus. Current status of the population of this raptor in the region is estimated as stable. In recent years, the population growth and tendency to increase reproductive capacity is observed.
Presentation of the report: Tilba, P.A., Mnatsekanov, R.A. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus brookei) in the North Caucasus.
File size 7.1 MB.

Yashin Atadzhanov (Turkmenistan) presented a report on the theme: “Current state of birds of prey in Kaplankyr Reserve (Turkmenistan). It was described the species composition, status and number of birds of prey in the investigated region. The report of Yashin was his debut at scientific conferences and warmly supported by all present participants.

Valentin Muzaev (Elista), made a presentation on the status of populations of the Lesser Kestrel and White-tailed Eagle in Kalmykia. The number of the Lesser Kestrel is low, but stable. The authors found five colonies of the first species, totally about 160 pairs. Four of them were located in sheepyards, one (small) in a destroyed building of the meat plant.The number of breeding White-tailed Eagle is low, the increasing trend is observed.
Presentation of the report: Muzaev, V.M., Erdnenov, G.I., Bortsov, G.E. The Lesser Kestrel and White-tailed Eagle in Kalmykia.
File size 17.1 MB.

Viktor Belik (Rostov-on-Don) gave a well-illustrated presentation on the Imperial Eagle in Volgograd Region. The data collected by a working group for over 10 years, showed a very different picture of the distribution and abundance of species than was previously known.The current number of the Imperial Eagle in Volgograd region is 75-95 pairs.Despite the deterioration of feeding conditions (reduction of sousliks), the Imperial Eagle population continues to grow.The most important adaptations, which allowed this eagle to stay and settle in anthropogenic habitats, were changes in its ecology and behavior:
– relocation to roads and villages, with more cattle and sousliks;
– occupation of forest belts and power lines for nesting.
Also essential changes were in the attitude of local population to birds of prey, increased tolerance to the eagles, which become familiar in pastures and villages and do not cause now high of curiosity of people.
Presentation of the report: (MS Power Point 2007 XML) Belik, V.P., Guguyeva, E.V., Babkin, I.G., Mahmutov, R.Sh., Mazin, O.V. The Imperial Eagle in Volgograd region.
File size 30.6 MB.

Vitaly Vetrov (Luhansk) presented a report on the current state of the Imperial Eagle in Eastern Ukraine. In recent decades, in the steppe between the rivers Seversky Donets and Dnieper it was noted a rapid increase in the numbers of this eagle at the expense of occupying a new habitat – shelter forest belts that have reached a ripe age, as well as single trees or small groves in steppe gullies. The number of the Imperial Eagle in the eastern part of Ukraine is currently estimated at not less than 70 pairs, and continues to grow.
Presentation of the report: Vetrov, V.V., Milobog, Yu.V., Vetrova, E.N. The Imperial Eagle in the interfluve of the Dnieper and the Seversky Donets.
File size 30.4 MB.

Several reports related to the study of birds of prey were presented in other sections:

Presentation of the report: Sapelnikov, S.F. Distribution of birds of prey and ravens in Kamennaya Steppe.
File size 7.9 MB.

Presentation of the report: Pokrovsky, I.G. The method of analysis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in determining the diets of birds of prey.
File size 2.0 MB.

Presentation of the report: Bragin, E.A Reproductive efficiency of clutches of different size of birds of prey of the family Falconidae.
File size 1.8 MB.

On the 2nd May it was a session of the Working Group on Birds of Prey,chaired by Vladimir Galushin.
It considered several issues.
1) About the 4th Conference on birds of prey in North Eurasia, which was agreed to hold in Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine) in October 2012.
2) About the preparation of essays in the volume on birds of prey “Birds of Russia and adjacent regions”.
Reference: Works on this volume was started in 2008 after the 5th Conference on Birds of Prey, held in Ivanovo. For each species of bird of prey 2-3 authors were appointed. By 2010 it had been planned to write chapters on distribution and abundance of all species. The progress at the end of April 2010: completely prepared essays of 15 species (out of 56). Some of the authors who had agreed to write essays didn’t submit yet the information on the progress of their work (the Black-winged Kite, Black Kite, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s harrier, Marsh Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Hymalayan Griffon Vulture, White-rumped Vultire, Eleonora’s Falcon, Common Kestrel, American Kestrel). It was decided to replace the authors of essays if they failure to meet the deadline. The coordinator of the work on writing this monograph is V.P. Belik, which can be addressed on all relevant questions.

By the start of the conference the proceedings have been published, containing over 400 abstracts:

Ornithology of North Eurasia. Proceedings of the 13th International Ornithological Conference of North Eurasia. Abstracts / Edited by E.N. Kurochkin, A.V. Davygora. – Orenburg: Publ. House of Orenburg State Pedagogical University, IPK GOU OGU, 2010. – 362 pp.

Like every big meeting, the Orenburg conference was full of discussions, communication with friends and colleagues. Undoubtedly, all participants remembered a banquet organized at the end of the conference in the national village. All of us will remember for a long time the most interesting moments of this conference and expect next meeting as well. As a preliminary decision, it was approved to hold the 14th International Ornithological Conference of North Eurasia in 2015 in Penza City.

Maxim Gavrilyuk

1 Comment

  1. Please, Dear Dr.,
    I like to buy that book.
    I mailed to menzbir@narod.ru
    Can You give me an answer? Please
    Many thanks in anticipation

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