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Birds of the Khibiny tundra

The bird class has attracted the attention of researchers long since that’s why today there is a lot of information. According to F.D. Pleske, who visited the Kola Peninsula in 1880, the bird list included 268 species with 178 nesting birds. The significant increase of the list of birds is connected with different reasons including human economical activity (ploughing field ups, deforestation, the development of towns and cities, environmental pollution, etc.). Ornithofauna of the Murmansk region consists of 17 units but the most numerous are the classes of passerine, charadriiformes and lamellirostral.

Snowy owl

The Khibiny forests are inhabited by more than 35 species of birds. In the forested areas very often you can find white and motley partridge and the cuckoo, that you can hear the whole in summer. In the forested landscapes there are such birds as blackbird, mountain finch, woodpecker, pine grosbeak and others. The forest tundra is populated by aberdevines, loosestrives, willow warblers, forest and meadow species of pipits in large quantities. Typical representatives of the mountains are such species of birds as rock ptarmigan, rough-legged buzzard, snow bunting, wheatear and others.

Many birds have food and live in the very forests. For example, it is such a big and beautiful bird like grouse. In winter it eats pine needles and in the summer-autumn season - berries, leaves of small shrubs, seeds of different plants. In order to save these birds it’s necessary to have old coniferous forests. It is very important to save these forests untouched. A nest with eggs or just hatchling little wood grouses can easily become prey to stray and hunting dogs because wood grouses nest on the ground.

Airfree forests with a dash of deciduous species prefer thrushes, chiff-chaffs, reels; took fancy to forest edges and cuttings such birds, as meadow pipits, flycatchers, yellow-hammers; open and marshy spaces are attracted by sandpipers, wagtails, warblers and others.

About twenty species of birds are closely connected with ponds. They are gulls, swans, ducks, sandpipers, arctic terns. Widely known rockeries are typical for the islands and coasts of the Barents sea. The main inhabitants of such rockeries are guillemots, puffins, gulls (tarrock, big sea gull and silver gull), hillers, razorbills. The largest bird colonies are observed in the reserved Ainova islands, the archipelagoes of Seven islands and Gavrilovsky.

The wide water spaces of the Khibiny are inhabited by mallards, greenshanks, Eurasian teals and white wagtails. These types of birds like grouses and white dippers spend winter together at the same place. The plateau and high inaccessible passes are inhabited by Lappish and snow cock. In the lower areas of the slopes lives the bluethroat. This bird of the unusual beauty has a second name «northern nightingale».

The most valuable bird of coastlines is the large sea duck - eider. Its nest is located on the ground among the rocks, brushwood in the bushes. Eider lines its nest by down hair that duck plucks from the lower part of its body. After that it lays four to six large eggs. Incubation lasts more than three weeks. Eiderdown is famous for excellent heat-insulated qualities, it is always collected for making warm clothes. In order to use pure down the locals took him out of the nest before the incubation. Too active gathering of down has led to a sharp decrease of the number of birds. The issue of the protection of this valuable ducks and the creation of special reserve is appeared urgently . In 30-s on the territory of Kandalaksha reserve was discovered about 300 nests. Nowadays the reserve has a large population of eider - several thousands of birds.

It’s necessary to tell about another interesting species - duck golden-eye. This diving duck has long been known for its nesting characteristics, as it prefers to nest in hollows of old trees. Locals hang out special nest boxes (vaulty) to attract golden-eyes. It helps to increase the number of ducks.

Among the northern regions of the Murmansk this region is considered to be the most developed: it has a lot of roads, settlements, major industrial enterprises. Human impact quite significantly affects the nature of the North including the ornithofauna. There are bird species that take up its residence close to the individual - sinanthropus. The most famous are starling, sparrow and rock pigeon. Grey crows, gulls, doves are the real disaster for many cities.They are fed in dumps, roadsides, animal farms, in tanks with garbage that results in highly pollution of yards, houses, monuments and streets. Therefore, when cities and towns projects are developed, it should be taken into consideration and decided which birds it is advisable to settle near the man.

To learn how to manage these processes is quite simple. It’s necessary to examine carefully the achievements obtained. So together when landscaping the settlements many streets were planted by the mountain-ash, which harvest has always attracted and attracts cedar waxwings and fieldfares. It is possible to settle in the urban areas by rare predatory birds. For example, in other countries people have been able to attract the falcons to towns. It allowed to reduce significantly the number of pigeons and crows. In our area many species of predatory birds are rare (merlin, peregrin, erne, osprey). Also the rare birds are snowy owl and eagle owl.

The majority of birds after nesting are found in the area for short time. Soon the period of flying away for wintering in warmer places comes. Some birds migrate to the southern area, others fly away to the European countries. Perhaps the longest path passes by ice gull, who picks its way to Australia. Not more than 20 species of birds stay for winter in the open ice-holes and close to the coastline of the Barents Seas. Most often they are eider, guillemot and some gulls. From urban population there is a wild duck Mallard, who can find shelter and food even in winter. Some birds with winter arrival has special properties that allow them to adapt to the changing environment. So, partridges become white, many grouse birds are covering with special tumors on their feet that help them to hold its ground on the icy branches.

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