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Kharkova, O.Yu. & Boehme, I.R. (2005): Patterns of location of bird nests in an oak forest in the Nature Reserve "Les na Vorskle" (Russia) (Russian). Berkut 14: 201-213


(APUSlist No. 3344)






In 1999 the Vorskla River Forest in the Belgorod Region was added to the State Nature-Landscape Reserve “Belogorye”*. As a result a bird nest count was made of the whole Nature Reserve.


The Vorskla River Forest* is one of oldest nature reserves in the former USSR, having also a long story of bird study. The paper presents the data of the previous bird nest counts in this territory.


The Vorskla River Forest is an oak wood with some forest-steppe, having an area of 11.2 sq.km. The selection of nest places and the distribution of nests of the different bird species breeding in the reserve were studied within the different habitat types.

A comparison was made of the present situation with the results of previous researchers’ work e.g. A.K. Kren', A.S.Mal'chevsky, G.A. Novikov in 1930-1950’s. In total 1181 nests of 58 passerine and non-passerine species were found in 1998-2006.

The majority of nests were built in trees, mainly in oaks; 383 nests were located in the crowns of the trees, 334 in hollows, 298 in undergrowth, and 166 on the ground.

There are no data on Common or Black Swifts (Apus apus) in the reserve prior to this study. But in the period from 1998-2006 a total of 17 nests of the Black Swift were found, all situated in tree hollows of the Oak (Quercus robur); 10 nests were at a height of 8-10 m, two at 12-14 m, and five above 16 m.


Subsequent to the territory becoming a reserve, clearance of bushes and saplings was terminated and the diversity of bird species nesting in young trees and bushes increased. The number of holes in the trees today is greater than in the middle of the 20th Century. This may be due to the ageing of the trees, and a decline in their health. Despite this, the number of Jackdaws (Corvus monedula) and Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) decreased since the 1950’s by factors of at 10.2 and 4 respectively, from unknown causes.


* The Nature Reserve “Les Na Vorskle” is situated in the Borisovsky region of Belgorod, Russia. It was created in 1925. During the period 1951 to 1979 it lost the status of a nature reserve, but it was restored in 1979. In 1999, the territory was expanded, it gained three new areas and now has the name "Belogorye".



Kren' A.K. (1939): Vertebrates of the Zapovednik "Les na Vorskle". Proceedings [Uchenye Zapiski] of Leningrad State University 28: 184-206

Mal'chevsky A.S., Pokrovskaya I.V., Ovchinnikova N.P., Gerakova T.N. (1956): On the ecological principles of the bird nest distribution in the forest (by observation in the forest-steppe oakwood "Les na Vorskle". Proceedings [Uchenye Zapiski] of Leningrad State University 38 (181): 77-102


Novikov G.A., Mal'chevsky A.S. (1963): Birds of the "Les na Vorskle" and its surrounding. Questons of ecology and biocenology 8: 9-118


APUSlife 2007, No.3511

ISSN 1438-2261