How to watch birds

Who are the boarders? The word comes from a combination of English words "bird watching" - bird watching, and the one who watches them is called bjordvocher. A non-scientist can help professional researchers collect data on birds. Birdwatching can be done in your free time, get high from nature, see and understand it more than at the household level, and at the same time know with whom to share these observations.

How many species of birds are there?

   There are birdwatching competitions where people compete to see who can see more birds. They travel all year round around the world to capture as many winged species as possible. The record is 6,852 species of birds per year worldwide, set by Arjan Dwarshuis of the Netherlands in 2016. In Ukraine, you can see more than 400 species of birds, including those that fly through our territory and fly away in a certain season. Due to the diversity of natural environments of Ukraine, we have such a great variety of birds.

How do birds fly away to warmer countries and then return to the same places?

There is a term "homing", derived from the English word "home". For most birds, this works as a return to the area where they hatched. There are also those that nest in the same nest every year. Storks always fly to the same nest, unless they die on the way, someone else will take their place. The lark is a small bird, but very conservative. Because every year he will return to the same corner of the field and make a nest there, if the field is suitable for life. Unfortunately, his home is highly dependent on agricultural practices, and people are destroying and giving many birds a chance to live through intensive agriculture.

How can agriculture harm birds?

When farmers or ordinary people sow rapeseed and sunflower en masse, as I do in the village, nothing nests there. If everything is in rapeseed, for example, there will be no larks. Plus treatment of plants from insects with various pesticides. And in Ukraine, many field birds are insectivorous. Even vegetarian birds feed their chicks on insects because the chicks need protein. In fields where there are no insects, neither birds nor rodents can survive, and where there are no rodents, there are no birds of prey because ecological relationships are broken. Cranes are now arriving en masse and eating mice. If the grain is poisoned in the field, which is eaten by mice, and the latter are eaten by cranes, they also die. Predators are most affected by any poison, because they absorb a larger dose, because they eat not one mouse, but many - and all, Khan. The crane is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. This is such a vulnerable species, because it lives in swamps, which we drained in the postwar period. Not only is his home being destroyed, plus climate change is exacerbating the drainage of swamps, and even eternal fires - all this negatively affects and threatens the existence of the species.

If as a child (why I am happy when parents come with their children on excursions to me), when the child enjoys watching birds, when she is interested, when some positive emotions in her are related to nature, she will not be indifferent to the environment . Let the child become a dentist, a programmer ..., but be aware of nature, whether it is an ecologist or not.

How do birds communicate with each other?

Sounds, gestures, feathers. But mostly sounds. Therefore, the singing of birds is a very important element of their communication. And for good reason, because there is a nesting season, when birds occupy their territories, forming pairs. If necessary, males fight for their mate or territory, but traditionally it all ends in a demonstration. In fact, this singing is a manifestation of territorial aggression. Therefore, when you hear a melodic song of a bird, know that it is sung by a male who says: "I live here! Do not climb. Everyone understands?" That's how it sounds (laughs). That is, males sing for males, not females.

How do birds build a family?

Each species is different. Birds only need a nest to lay eggs there and provide space for the chicks. The smaller the bird, the faster the hatching process. And then the fun begins, when all the chicks need to be fed. The little bird, which everyone knows, lays from 8 to 12 eggs. Imagine being able to feed such a family. And they need to eat a lot, because metabolism is fast. More than 300 times you need to bring food for 10 chicks in the nest!

Therefore, it is important to remember that there is a season of silence from April 1 to June 15. It exists in the Law of Ukraine on Fauna, but few people know about it. In the spring, when people come on vacation, turn on the music, fool around - it makes life very difficult for birds and chicks, because imagine how many problems they already have. The peak falls on the May holidays, when birds hatch and people gather, start turning on music in parks and forests.

I haven't researched this issue, but I think that a fine is imposed for it abroad.

How many years do birds live?

Small on average live 3-5 years in the wild. Many birds die in the first year of life. Cranes can live for decades because they are larger. Crows live long. Crook can live like a man - 50, 70 years, if he does not die from parasites, diseases. The most intelligent ones survive in them. Crook is intellectually developed, can solve problems such as a 4-year-old child. According to some studies, he has somewhere around the same level of intelligence as a chimpanzee - it's very cool for birds.

How do birds determine the direction of their flight?

First, birds orient themselves in space visually like us. Secondly, they have navigation. In addition to seeing the landscape, they also analyze space by placing celestial bodies: the sun, the moon, the constellations, the stars. There are those who migrate at night, focusing on the stars and the moon. And third, birds experience a magnetic field. They contain iron-containing crystals in the eye and specific photoreceptors that also respond to the Earth's magnetic field. There are directions to the magnetic equator and the magnetic pole. There were experiments by scientists when birds were transported from one country to another and released. The birds flew in the same direction, even those that hatched that year.

How do birds see people?

The birds are very interesting. I compare with dogs. Dogs see one color less than we do. We see three, and they see two. And people, compared to birds, like dogs, because birds see one color more - it's ultraviolet. We have three multi-colored cones, and they have ultraviolet light in addition. One cannot even imagine how they perceive the world. If we look through the ultraviolet, we will not see other colors, and they see everything together. There are birds that we think are simple in appearance, but for birds they can look bright. Among starlings, it is difficult to distinguish which of them is a girl and which is a boy, but they will see this clearly due to their eye structure. Plus ultraviolet allows you to better see the condition of the bird. So, birds have such a fantastically interesting thing that we can't even imagine.

How to choose a location for bird watching?

The more wild the nature, the rarer the birds may be. But for beginners it doesn't work that way. Because in the wild, birds are not allowed close to them, and they will be harder to see. I advise beginners to start with parks, where birds are accustomed to people. They can even be seen without binoculars, so any park in the city is great. And where there are ponds, it will always be interesting, because any water attracts life, especially if there are not burned reeds.

What to take with you to make bird watching successful?

Curiosity, observation. Binoculars. But if you still don't know if boardwatching is yours, you can take a camera. And the most important thing is to wake up the child. Sometimes people lack the opportunity to distract themselves from problems, phones and just look up, because there is, as I am sometimes told, "You have opened a parallel world of birds to me" (laughs). We just need to open our eyes and start paying attention to them, that's where it all begins.

How to distinguish birds?

It is necessary, first of all, not to look at color, because it is not very informative. First, determine the place where you observe the bird: some birds live in the field, others live in the forest. Then, how he behaves in space: whether he crawls on the bark, or he jumps on the ground. Bird behavior is very important. Size and proportions to which size category it belongs. Then you can assess how massive his body is, its length, proportions, and only then determine the color, which may look different in the shade and in the sun. In the field, a beautiful yellow bird can be both oatmeal and yellow wagtail. They are only similar in color, and everything else is different.

Hannusya Kuzio is a popularizer of birdwatching in Ukraine, an ornithologist with twelve years of experience in bird watching, and conducts excursions.

Recorded by Olga Bovkun.

All photos were taken in Yavoriv National Nature Park.