Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences


Dear Fellow Ornithologists,
Participants of the Conference
“Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”!

Allow me, as a representative of the older generation of modern Kazakhstani ornithologists, to welcome such an authoritative meeting of more than 100 specialists from 29 countries and express my deep appreciation of the fact that this international forum has chosen Kazakhstan as the venue, located almost in the center of Eurasia, which has a rich bird fauna (40 species of birds of prey out of 56 inhabiting the Palearctic, i.e. more than 70%, including 10 out of 14 species of eagles and 9 out of 14 species of falcons) and has a long ornithological traditions. Moreover, eagles are an important part of the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of Kazakhstan, and the strongest of them, the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), has been the favorite bird of prey of Kazakhs for centuries and is now part of the state symbols of our country. The Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is also inseparable from the Kazakh steppe.

Eagles and falcons are called aristocrats of the sky for a reason – they are among the most beautiful representatives of the species of birds, whose free flight has always been the envy of the man. The anatomy structure and taxonomy of birds of prey, as well as their way of life, have always attracted the ornithological scientists. It is not by chance that they were specially studied by the classics of ornithological science – academicians Mikhail Aleksandrovich Menzbir , Peter Petrovich Sushkin, and after them, in the middle of the XX century, by Georgy Petrovich Dementiev , Boris Karlovich Shtegman.

However, in the turbulent times of the 20th century, these aristocrats of the sky were not lucky – they were directly persecuted by man, who (through his ignorance) considered them as pests of the hunting industry, and then, with the total electrification of undeveloped areas, created a threat to them in the form of power lines, which resulted in the mass death of eagles (in Kazakhstan – from the Ural Steppe to the Zaisan Basin). Large vultures (Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, G. himalayensis, Cinereous Black Vulture Aegypius monachus, Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, and Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus) were repeatedly killed by poisoned baits placed in reserves to kill wolves. As a result, the number of birds of prey decreased catastrophically, and when the Red Data Book was created, a significant part of them ended up on its pages. In Kazakhstan, 44.5% of falcons, 80% of eagles (8 species out of 10), and almost all vultures (whereof only the Cinereous Black Vulture and the Eurasian Griffon Vulture are candidates for the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan) are recorded in this book.

Therefore, in the program of our Conference Kazakhstani people are primarily attracted by the reports devoted to the current status of threatened species of eagles, for example: Steppe Eagle in the AltaiSayan Ecoregion (Elena Shnayder); Imperial Eagle in South-East Kazakhstan in 2022–2023 (Alyona Kaptyonkina); Status of the Steppe Eagle in Kazakhstan (Genriyetta Pulikova); Wintering of Steppe Eagles in Egypt in 2016–2023 (Mohamed Habib); Migrations and wintering of Steppe Eagles breeding in Dauria (Ivan Zaitsev); Survival of Golden Eagles and Steppe Eagles in the places of their capture in China (MaMing); Legislative protection of birds of prey in Kazakhstan (Sergey Sklyarenko); History of the problem of “Birds and Power Lines” in Russia and Kazakhstan (Igor Karyakin), and others.

The reports on the status of eagle research and conservation in other regions and on other continents are of the same interest in terms of sharing experience.

I would like to wish the participants of the Conference fruitful work, useful exchange of opinions and scientific discoveries in the course of discussions, as well as the development and practical application of effective methods of conservation of our favorite eagles – so that in addition to purely scientific there were also practical results – to the delight of us and the birds.

A.F. Kovshar, Chairman of the Program Committee
of the Conference “Eagles of Palearctic: Study and Conservation”,
Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor.