Video clip breaks record for ‘hits’

An online broadcast of the habitat of a rare species of falcon in Belarus — the common kestrel — enjoys great popularity among ornithologists and nature lovers abroad

By Anna Pimenova

The Common Kestrel Online project was launched by ornithologists in mid-April. “People from 130 countries worldwide can view our pair of nesting birds, on a multi-storey residential building in Brest — via web-cam,” notes Ruslan Shaikin, a specialist on ecological education at the APB-BirdLife Belarus Public Association. This year, the falcons have laid five eggs and, at present, both parents are taking it in turns to sit upon their eggs; the chicks are expected to appear any day.

The common kestrel is a small falcon, similar in size to a dove. The males differ in having a grey head and tail. In recent years, these birds have often nested in cities. “Local populations of common kestrels exist in Minsk, Grodno, Baranovichi, Brest and elsewhere,” continues Mr. Shaikin. “The Brest population of this species is the largest seen in an urban environment, with around 50 pairs. The biggest group resides in the suburbs of Machulishchi in the Minsk District.”

Ornithologists usually advise us to leave nesting birds alone, since disturbing them can cause birds to abandon nests and eggs. However, contemporary equipment is allowing nature lovers the unique opportunity to discover the secrets of the birds.

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