April 1 – International Bird Day
1 апреля 2012 года

April 1 – International Bird Day Birds are the only rightful citizens of the world…
Igor Krasnovskiy

A number of holidays are celebrated globally on April 1, and International Bird Day is one of them. The Altaiskiy Biosphere Reserve extends sincere congratulations to its colleagues, partners and friends on the occasion of this international environmental holiday!

The history of the International Bird day, originally children’s day, dates back to 1894. It was then that the holiday was initiated and established in a small Oil City, Pennsylvania, by a school superintendent Charles Babcock. Supported broadly by the press and the public, the holiday soon spread throughout the US and by the beginning of the 20th century penetrated into Russia where it was propagated by May school unions established exclusively for birds’ protection and presented by preteens and regional branches of the Russian humane society. With the bulk of birds arriving later in Russia, the holiday is traditionally celebrated later than in the USA.

The idea of celebrating the Bird Day, installing nesting boxes and feeding stations struck root in Russia, for it was here that the tradition of placing artificial nests to attract birds originated. As noted by a well-known traveler Peter Simon Pallas, Russian peasants placed cylinder bark boxes to attract starlings.*

In USSR the International Bird Day was first observed on 1 April 1927, and in 1993 the Animal Charities & Non-Profit Organization “Russian Bird Conservation Union” (RBCU) was established. Nowadays it is celebrated annually within the framework of UNESCO’s “Man and the Biosphere” program and is targeted at highlighting people’s responsibility for the wild world. Some data suggests that about 100 bird species went extinct during the period between 1600s to present day, which is very often the result of a man-made impact.

Specially protected nature territories harboring endangered and critically endangered bird species vigorously fight the tendency and try to avert the crushing blow, and the Altaiskiy Biosphere Reserve is no exception. The Reserve’s bird fauna is presented by 333 bird species (which accounts for 96% of all bird species of Gorny Altai), of which over 50 are registered in the Red Data Book of the Altai Republic. For some bird species the Reserve’s territory is the only nesting and feeding ground in Gorny Altai. The Altaiskiy Reserve hosts four key ornithological territories (KOTR) of international significance as part of Important Bird Areas program launched by the Bird Life International.

Ever progressing man-made impact and landscape development trigger the extinction threat for lots of bird species. Fighting for conservation of our planet’s biodiversity involves not only NGOs and environmental organizations, but every particular man. Remembering the sound of birds’ spring singing may help with that.

Note: Since 1996 the Russian Bird Conservation Union has been selecting a bird – a symbol of the year. Among previous symbols are: corncrake, sky lark, gray crane, barn swallow, great titmouse, starling, kestrel, curlew, stork, owl, seagull, kingfisher, bullfinch, swan, plover, pied wagtail. A blue-throated robin of the thrush family picks up the torch in 2012. All 2012 environmental events will be devoted to it.**

Kseniya Veselovskaya

*Source: http://www.redbook.ru/daybird2006.htm
**Press office of the Moscow Department for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management.



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