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WWF webcams recorded the birth of Far Eastern storks in the Amur basin

Storks online

The Far Eastern stork is a beautiful, graceful bird, which is considered an endangered species. Its population numbers no more than 3.5 thousand species, and almost all of them live in the territory of Russia. Our country has no one to share the burden of responsibility for the preservation of this species, and since 1998 the Russian branch of WWF will lead active work in this direction.

This bird is called the winged symbol of Amur and it is considered an indicator of the basin's ecosystem health. But from the mid-90s, the population of Far Eastern storks began to decline sharply - they had nothing to eat because of the drainage of swamps in China and forest fires in Russia. The situation was aggravated by the active destruction of tall trees on which these birds build nests. Unlike their fellow white storks, the Far Eastern distrust man and nest in the wilderness, returning to the same place year after year. Its destruction drives the bird away from the chosen territory forever ...

The population of the Far Eastern stork has no more than 3.5 thousand species

The population of the Far Eastern stork has no more than 3.5 thousand species, photo WEB

The hard work of 40 thousand people who took part in preserving the species in recent years was not in vain - since the end of the 90s the number of breeding pairs of Far Eastern storks has more than tripled. However, it’s too early to say that the danger has passed for them. WWF continues to monitor the number of representatives of the species and improves the quality of their habitat. Thus, at the end of March, six online cameras were installed on 4 nests in the Amur region, and by April 1, on the Day of Birds, in one of them the feathered family laid the first egg “on camera”.

By May 27, 14 storks were hatched in “controlled” dwellings. All this time, scientists are watching the families in real time, without disturbing them and collecting invaluable video material that has no analogues. Life in each of the four nests is unique! In the nest number 2, located on the power line near the village of Tambovka, were hatched 5 storks. Experts observe this pair longer than others, and believe that their nest is the oldest known in the area. It was found back in 2004.

In the nest number 2, storks bred five chicks

In the nest number 2, storks bred five chicks, photo © WWF России

In the nest number 1, located nearby, and also on the power lines, the family arrives every year and regularly becomes the victim of a “terrorist” - the third stork, who claims either a dwelling or a female, but flies away with nothing. Last year, the couple laid two eggs, but the young father apparently decided that he is too young for such responsibility, and threw them out of the nest ... Experts concerned with this turn of events, they could only guess how father-stork would behave this year. But the fears were in vain - today the family is caring for four chicks.

The same number of storks grows in the third nest, which is located on a tree in the Berezovsky reserve. But parents in the fourth nest, on an artificial tripod, suffered a tragedy. From the four eggs, only two nestlings hatch so far, but one has died. Today it is impossible to predict how events will unfold further - whether the birds will care about the only baby, and whether the storks will hatch from the remaining eggs. However, if the baby stork won't be abandoned, it definitely will not have a shortage of food, and scientists will be able to analyze online how its growth differs from the growth of chicks who are forced to share food with each other.

Tree nest in Berezovsky reserve

Tree nest in Berezovsky reserve, photo © WWF России

WWF specialists point out that this experience of observing Far Eastern storks is unique, and the most interesting thing is starting now - anyone can connect to the camera and watch the maturing and growth of chicks. Even scientists who have been studying birds for a long time have discovered completely unexpected behavioral features. “It struck me that during the rain the stork stood, spreading his wings like an umbrella over his offspring. It is very touching to observe the evening ritual of family retirement to sleep - the parents put the chicks under themselves, so that at night they will be in warmth and safety. Therefore, connect to the broadcast and get unforgettable emotions!”, advises Anna Serdyuk, project coordinator for PAs.

In addition to the fascinating observation and careful analysis, WWF specialists together with the organization “Keepers of stork nests” are engaged in preserving the food supply for poultry. Work is also being done on stork registration, and by the end of June, monitoring of the southern regions of the Amur Region, where most of their populations nest, will be completed.

Victoria Romanova, Russia, Moscow