Within its “Bird of the Year” annual campaign, the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (ASPB) has announced the Common Crane (Grus grus) to be the Bird of 2010 Year in Armenia.
ASPB initiated public opinion poll, and respondents have mentioned six bird species, namely Common Crane (Grus grus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Caucasian Grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewiczi), and Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). 47% of respondents voted for the Common Crane (481 votes) and got into final list. Golden Eagle (29%, 297 votes) and Lesser Kestrel (18%, 184 votes) took up second and third, respectively.
In total, 1,025 persons were involved in this public opinion poll, including schoolchildren, teachers, and naturalists representing almost all regions of Armenia. “LOLO” youth magazine, Peace Corps volunteers, and Important Bird Areas (IBA) caretakers helped us to make the poll more largescale.
The choice of Crane as the “Bird of the Year” becomes particularly relevant, especially in light of the facts that the number of Cranes nesting in Armenia declines every single day. At present, this species builds its nests only near Lake Arpi, and only from 2 to 6 pairs have remained. Sharp decline in the number of cranes is caused by destruction of their habitat. In addition to that, hunting and trapping, predominantly caused by people had their negative toll as well. Meanwhile, Common Crane is listed in the National Red Data Book.
Cranes are omnivorous animals: subject to food diversity; they eat plants, seeds, worms, fishes, rodents, and even snakes. “Bird of the Year” annual campaign is designed to nominate a feathered symbol of the current year and is called to inform wider citizenry about the species, focusing on its importance and vulnerability. Within the framework of the event, different ecological initiatives are designed: exhibitions, interschool contests (for best painting, photo picture, story, and handicraft), etc. The results of these events will be summarized during the “Crane – the Bird of Peace” festival.