Birds Get Helping Hand In Tough Siberian Winter
Young participants in the "Everyone fights fires" campaign act out good fire-prevention practices. Photo: Elena Kim/Live Planet.
Winters are tough, to say the least, in Eastern Siberia, where temperatures can regularly plunge below minus-40 degrees Celsius and ice and snow abound. Starting last November, children and their families in the Khakassia area have been giving a helping hand to birds wintering in the regions, building feeding troughs and starling houses to help keep them warm and fed.Organized by the environmental group Live Planet and the Khakassky State Natural Reserve, participants in the "Feed the birds in winter" ecological campaign worked throughout the season to help "our feathery neighbors in [this] difficult period of their life," Live Planet director Elena Kim wrote in an article she sent to Treehugger. Young children and their parents, as well as blind, deaf, and mentally challenged youth, learned to make feeding and nesting sites for birds, Kim wrote:
During the campaign, its participants made 1,142 feeding troughs, hung in backyards, parks, squares, and near houses. Wintering birds have eaten huge amounts of various berries, grains, lards, and breads for five frosty mouths. Thanks to it, the birds have survived our Siberian winter. And the bird houses are ready for future lodgers. On average, a pair of birds in each house hatches three to four nestlings -- which means that about 1,000 new birds will appear in the world, thanks to these houses.
Disabled youth in Khakassia make bird houses. Photo: Elena Kim/Live Planet.
Live Planet and the Khakassky reserve are also conducting fire-prevention activities and educational programs in an effort to fight regular blazes that threaten the steppe environment, rich in lakes, wetlands, and rivers, and an important stopover for migratory waterfowl.
Aimed at children in Khakassia, a small republic in the south of Eastern Siberia, the "Everyone fights fires" educational campaign teaches fire-prevention rules that the young participants then shared with their friends and parents" through parties and skits, Kim wrote. "We can be assured that these children will put out improper fires and won't set fire to last year's grasses."
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