//Biological Institute //Saint-Petersburg State University
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The Laboratory of Avian Ecology and Bird Protection was founded in 1990 in the Biological Research Institute of the St.Petersburg State University. It focuses on ecology, regulation of the annual cycle in birds as well as the fascinating problem of the biology - migration of birds.
The main directions of studies are:
- Regulation of the seasonal events of the annual cycle in different systematic and ecological groups of birds;
- Photoperiodic regulation of moult;
- Regulation of the onset and timing of migration in passerines;
- Territorial behaviour in birds;
- Breeding ecology;
- Ecology of migration and dispersal;
- Long-term monitoring of the timing of spring and autumn migration;
- Long-term monitoring of bird numbers during spring and autumn migration;
- Ecology of threatened and vulnerable species;
- Development of conservation and protection measures for threatened and vulnerable species;
- Status and trends of migratory bird population in Russia;
- Computerization of the ornithological data.
The researchers of the Lab have worked out the experimental approach for studying different events of the annual cycle that allowed obtaining unique data on the regulation of moult, sexual activity and migration in more than 50 species of passerine birds. We have developed a new method of registration of locomotory activity of migrants using a video surveillance system. It is based on on-line computer analysis of the picture of a cylindrical orientation cage with birds. The cage is 60 cm in diameter with a round perch (40 cm in diameter) installed in the middle. A video camera is placed above the cage. The design of the cage and an original computer code allow to record on-line and analyze both direction and intensity of the movements. Our software is designed to recognize moving objects, distinguish them by color, record their trajectories and analyze the motion pattern (duration and frequency of stops, length and angular direction of movements). The system is able to record the movements of one bird in a cage as well as to distinguish and record individually color-marked birds in a small group.
All the data of experiments are controlled by the data obtained in nature.


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