Will the birds attack the skyscraper and other issues of air hostel. Part 1

The birds were worried at the dawn of the St. Petersburg megastroika Lakhta Center. Through the coast of the Neva Bay there are traditional migration routes of birds – there are fears that birds can change routes and places of nesting due to large construction works. Now – new alarms – say that birds for some reason will not fly around the skyscraper, but break up about it. And even the figure is called: 30 thousand bird deaths per year. Is this even possible?

What is the main bird hazard in the region? Or not?
We will understand!

What is the essence of the question

Being in Lahti it's hard to believe that this is the territory of the largest megalopolis in Russia – there is more natural here than in any other part of Petersburg.


At the start of the project, the green question was trying to replace the historical Discourse of Okhta. For example, there were demands to save "… a picturesque species of the population of vegetal bugs-kraisov Coreus marginatus L", which in the opinion of individual authors settled on the site of construction, despite the absence of the actual vegetation on the territory of the former sandbase.

Rudas Peskobaz – the site of the construction of the skyscraper

Perhaps the sudden discovery of a barkhan cat in the Lahti sand dunes would have looked much more organic …

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Barchaniy ko . Photo from here

But the "bird issue" is not one of those that can be attributed to the inertia of finding faults. There were indeed grounds for his staging. And that's why.

Birds like the coast of the Neva Bay – its overgrown shallows give feathery shelter and food. Here – a major "trans-shipment point", where they stop on rest in their way further to the northeast. For some, these places are not a halt at all, and the final stop is a native nest. In total, hundreds of thousands of birds fly across the coast for different purposes.

The reserve "Northern coast of the Neva Bay" – in 6 km. From Lakhta. Thickets of reeds and cattail (in the people – "reeds") are very popular with birds. Screen from the story of TC St. Petersburg

What place does Lakhta occupy on their travel map? Is the skyscraper a danger to the birds? How to ethically divide the airspace? Only ornithologists could answer such questions. They were invited – among the first researchers of the new construction site.
Since 2011, experts in the Biological Faculty of St. Petersburg State University have conducted ornithological monitoring. For the seventh year such studies have been conducted every spring, summer and autumn. Before giving answers to all questions, we learn how they are received – how ornithologists work.

What the ornithologist can not do without

What is the difference between an ornithologist from a normal person in addition to the actual scientific training? Sharp sight and sharp hearing.

Sivtsev's table. Two lower rows – vision 1.5 and vision 2!

Have you ever wondered why an oculist puts a "unit" in sight if you read the third row from the bottom? For whom then are the two lowest rows? They are for those who have a vision that exceeds the standard good human index. Ornithologist will almost certainly read the bottom lines. Good eyesight is a must for birdwatching.

Even ornithologists at the hearing determine different types of birds – by singing. And it's not about the chicken and the lark. And, for example, about different kinds of seagulls.

Arsenal for observations

However, no modern scientist refuses technical adaptations. The main weapon of the ornithologist is the binoculars.

Ornithological binoculars

Our ornithologists used instruments with a 10 and 16-fold increase – this is an optical observational technique Special purpose. For comparison: theatrical binoculars, which almost all held in their hands, have a multiplicity of not more than 5, and more often – 2.5 times.

The heavy artillery of the ornithological arsenal is a telescope from 60 to 100x, which makes it possible to see birds At a distance of several kilometers depending on the weather conditions. However, it is not necessary to look so far for research tasks in Lahti. The telescope is used to clarify the nuances – the definition of close species, gender differences.

When a bird does not want to be noticed: a smoky frog sitting on a nest. Even with a pipe you will not immediately notice. Photo from here

The tube is used only with a tripod – in order to avoid image vibration – the larger the magnification, the more critical it is.
Another useful thing in work is a dictaphone. With him everything is clear: I saw it – wrote it down.

The equipment of the ornithological center Pomorie, Bulgaria. Photo from here.


The basis of ornithology is observation. So, we need a good observation post. In the forest for this sometimes build ornithological towers, but a more typical place of work of scientists – this is just a natural place with a good overview – the edge of the field, the forest edge, the seashore.

The ornithological tower. Photo from here

In Lahti there was no need to build a tower – there was an old pier on the eastern extremity of the coastline adjacent to the construction site.

At the dawn of the construction site

And today

There are many pluses – on the dais, a good overview of both the water, and the sky, and the construction site.

From this pier, ornithologists conduct operational monitoring in Lakhta

The second observation point is in the west of the construction site. From it can be seen a flight of birds that turn north in front of the site. In the zone of influence of construction this part does not fall, but there are nests of stoves, tapeworms and seagulls

The work includes not only monitoring from points, but also the routes themselves to points and between them. At passage the ornithologist fixes everything, that it was possible to notice. This is called "tracking by route".

Observation Schedule

Here is news for those who adhere to the theory of "owls" and "larks", bringing under it the base about "natural biorhythms". In fact, there are no early and late birds. There are very few species, more active at night. Owls, by the way, are really from them.
The majority of feathered people live on an unfamiliar human schedule. Morning rise – for half an hour before sunrise. In the afternoon – rest. Then – the second shift, which ends after half an hour after sunset.

Ornithologists adjust themselves to the schedule of the wards. Observations in Lahti go 4 hours in the morning and in the evening, starting 30 minutes before dawn and ending 30 minutes after sunset.

The Owl. It is also active in the daytime. Photo from here

During the migration, the mode of bird activity completely breaks – 75% of birds fly at night, eat and then go on the road again.

The night? It's time for the road. Night survey of migration of birds in the reserve Askania Nova. Photo from here


From the above, it is clear that the primary collection of information follows the principle – see who flies, what heights, what he does. Techniques are different nuances. Here is an example of scientific ingenuity – monitoring of birds against the background of the lunar disk.

Photo from here

Yes, scientists just record all the birds flying in the background of the moon. The bird's silhouette is clearly discernable – it means that it is possible to establish a species affiliation. For night observation is a good way out. After the "lunar monitoring" data is entered into the computer, and a special program extrapolates the numbers using the coefficients. In Lahta, the technique was also tried, but not very well – the St. Petersburg moon fails. More often such observations are conducted in the southern latitudes with clear moonlit nights.

The Border

The field of observations in Lahti coincides with the zone of influence of construction. It is defined by scientists as a circle with a radius of 500 meters from the tower of the Lahta Center. Total – a kilometer to the far boundary in the horizontal plane. In the vertical – less: the main density of the flow of birds goes at altitudes from 30 to 100 meters. From this point of view, there is no difference between the building at 70 meters and the skyscraper.

There is no difference for the bird between the tower and the residential high-the main flux density is at elevations of up to 100 m. Photo by Ivan Smelov

Are there birds that fly higher? Of course, there are those who fly beyond the normal distribution. For example, geese move high – for them transit is usual at the level of 200-300 meters and even higher.

Speaking of champions, high-flying birds are condors, storks, vultures … The mountain goose was caught at plus 10,175 m, true, during flights over the Himalayas, so that the mark at the countdown from the mountain cave will be lower. The official height record belongs to the Ryuppel bar (African sipu) – in 1973 in Cote d'Ivoire the bird of this species collided with a passenger plane at an altitude of 11 277 m.

Sip. Photo from here

Fortunately for our aviation, these species are not found in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. Feathered, preferring standard heights, they are successfully driven away from the runway by the Peregrine Falcons – regular "employees" of the ornithological service Pulkovo.

Peregrine falcon is another record among birds. And even more – the fastest animal on the planet. In 2005, the states recorded a speed of 389, 46 km / h, which the bird developed, diving for the victim. Official record of the record.

Can this Lakhta skyscraper adopt this experience? To get the same falcons – just to scare everyone, for their own, birds, good?

Sapsan Pulkovo. "Sapsanu" RZD for him can not keep up. Photo of the Village from here

But now we will find out whether there is a need for this.

Question 1. Are birds flying over the Lakhta?

There are two news here. I'll start with a good one. They are flying. In the period from April 15 to June 27 in 2017, observing once in 10 days, scientists counted about 20 thousand birds. How do the birds react to the construction?

For the answer, it is important to understand this nuance.

In relation to human activity, birds can be divided into two groups. The first – those who avoid people, the latter – those who are not afraid of people and even benefit from the economic activities of the species Homo sapiens. Pigeons, seagulls, crows, sparrows – you know these birds "in person", even if you are not very interested in wildlife. Simply because they are feathered "citizens", the same inhabitants of megacities as we are with you.

A small monument was erected in St. Petersburg as one of the symbols of the city

According to reports, the absolute majority of the flow in the Lakhta area – from among such urbanized bird species. These feathers are not afraid of construction. Most of them prefer to fly around the site of the construction of the Lahta Center on its northern border. The most daring – mostly gulls – "cut" the road through the site. The design does not crash, glazing is well distinguished. One of the gulls is attention! – Nest in the northern part of the construction site.

Lake gull in the Lakhta harbor

"Anthropogenic" species in the figures
Leaders, of course, are gulls. Near the tower there were about 3000 gull gulls, about the same number of gray gulls, about 4000 – silvery, and few small gulls – in the region of 100 individuals. Other species most common in the zone of influence of the construction are ordinary starlings (± 2000), large tits (± 1500), vines (± 1000), gray crows (± 1000). From Technical reports on operative ornithological monitoring of the construction of the Lakhta Center

City or not?

Does this mean that the Lakhtinskaya building was identified by birds strictly as the territory of a metropolis and no other species except "anthropogenic" is not found here? Birds of "wild nature" also fly. And also without consequences.

Ducks-mallards in the Lakhta harbor

Birds of the "wild nature" building just neatly fly around. The radius is very small – why not fly around. Those who look at the tower from above, and not from the side – geese and goats passing at higher altitudes, above 200 meters, do not respond to the skyscraper either. What is he, what is not it … Far travelers are embarrassed to confuse. More significant direct impact of the skyscraper, than its flight, was not noted.

The Krasnoknizhnik

But the main news. Near the skyscraper there is a parking lot for two species of swans. Both are listed in the Red Book of St. Petersburg. A small swan – a representative of the Red Book of Russia – in the parking lot recorded a large cluster – about 200 birds, only 350-500 meters from the construction site, which

"… indicates the absence of a negative impact of construction on the habitats of this rare species … On the sites of the Neva Bay, directly adjacent to the construction site, the conditions of the early spring camp of waterfowl remain … "(From the technical report on operational ornithological monitoring of the construction of the Lakhta Center in April-June 2017).

The Small Swan. The Red Book of Russia. Photo

Altogether, ornithologists recorded 13 Red Data Book species. From the Red Data Book of Russia – 6. The Osprey, the herbalist and the bunch flew in transit, but the neckties remained nesting. According to observations, in general on the territory – 74 species of different birds.

For reference: in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region alone there are 328 species of birds, 85 – in the Red Book of the Leningrad Region.

Is it all so iridescent?

Actually, no. The second news is that the total number of migratory streams of birds declines over the years. This is a general trend associated with many transformations. For example, by pouring sand from the Lakhtinsky spill, in fact, he broke away from the aquatic bird settlements in this place – the bottom mark left from minus 1-2 to 16 meters. And this is a completely different biotope.

The construction of roads, a continuous multi-storey building on the north-eastern shore of the Lakhtinsky spill and from both sides of the strait is a major transformation of the last decades. The city comes. Wild birds retreat – following the natural habitat.

The Lakhtinsky spill and the Yuntolovsky reserve.

This is a global problem related to the human mode of existence – civilization. And then – just a task of a different scale – to learn to live in good-neighborliness with other inhabitants of the planet – it does not matter whether they fly, run or swim. Yes, but the number of seagulls and passerines in the general flow is growing …

Continue reading – and yet, will the birds crash into the skyscraper? What are light traps and whether birds have a compass?

Thank you for your help in presenting the materials of the specialists of the Faculty of Biology of St. Petersburg State University