Who has not seen the photos of large snow-white birds in nests shaped like hats on the roofs? This is the White stork, a symbol of family life in the Eastern Europe, the bird that brings babies, and therefore happiness! But unlike the European species the White stork (Ciconia ciconia), it’s Far eastern brother Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) try to avoid human. It nests away from the people in the wilderness, on the outskirts of groves or single trees, near lakes, rivers, and vast marshes. The Oriental stork is one of the rarest birds in the Russian Far East. It is endangered and listed in the Red book of the Russian Federation, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Annex I of the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITEC). This far eastern species breeds only in the Amur-Heilong river basin and winters on plains of the Yangtze river in China. As the final link of the food chain, the Oriental stork is an indicator of the well-being of the Amur freshwater ecosystems.
95% of Oriental Stork population breeds in the Amur basin of the Russian Far East. The remaining breeding grounds are in the North-East China. The stork winters in the Yangtze floodplain in China. For many years, their nests were ruined, and the birds were suffering from poachers shooting on migrating ways and wintering sites. Because of the massive use of herbicides, Oriental storks disappeared in Japan and Korea. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain the remaining Oriental stork population in Russia and China.
In our photo gallery you can admire a selection of images of this gorgeous bird. You can still see them in nature, until fires and humans did not destroy the graceful feathered symbol of Amur river. Photos provided by our partners and employees of the Amur branch of WWF Russia.
Agricultural land use, forest fires and logging of large trees reduce the number of natural nesting supports. In recent years, predators are increasingly ruining the nests. Poaching is another severe cause of the bird’s death. It is essential to maintain the feed supply and prevent its sharp decline.
To protect and increase the Oriental Stork population, WWF-Russia focuses on the following activities:
1. Monitoring of the Oriental stork population
2. Increasing the capacity of nesting areas by installing artificial supports for stork nests,
сrown reduction to improve or maintain the shape of trees suitable for nesting.
3. Conducting fire preventive measures for trees with nests to protect the existing nests:
removal of dry grass around the trees and chemical treatment against fires.
4. Performing artificial aeration of small reservoirs to prevent mass fish mortality
in the winter season and maintain a food supply for birds.
5. Fighting against illegal net fishing and poaching.
6. Raising public awareness by organizing events, holidays, workshops and competitions
and holding scientific conferences.
Status of Oriental white stork and other rare birds
of the Amur wetlands
This book presents materials on the studies of the Oriental white stork
and other rare birds of the wetlands within the Amur watershed and their habitats.
Data describing the Oriental white stork population status within most of its
Russian range by 2010 are summarized.
The collected articles are meant for ornithologists involved in studies and conservation
of rare bird species, environmentalists and ecologists, protected nature area personnel,
teachers and students of biological disciplines at colleges and higher educational institutions.
Since 2000, the area of protected areas for the stork habitat increased by 2,5 times, 40% of all nesting pairs were protected (1,7 mln hectares of wetlands). The volunteers of the Oriental Stork Nest Keepers movement take care of 130 stork nests, 27 artificial supports were installed, 20 baskets were fixed on the trees for future nests. According to the full-scale census conducted in 2018, the number of breeding pairs increased by 40% compared to the year 2000 and is estimated at 1000 pairs.
Here you can read short version of report on Year of the Oriental stork results and some highlights of an acomplished work in Russia.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has always paid attention to the Oriental stork. As the final link of the food pyramid, stork easily responds to water and soil pollution, drying wetlands or climate change. The Oriental stork can be surely called as indicator of the well-being of the Amur basin ecosystems.
WWF and the Amur coalition of public organizations declared 2018 the year of the Oriental stork. Everyone was able to participate in the preparation and holding of events dedicated to rare birds. Cooperation of all concerned environmental organizations, both state and public, will help to preserve the rare bird for the future generations.