The Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, in collaboration with the City of Ostrava, will carry out a unique research on nesting ecology of singing birds and the influence of urbanization on their nesting. A total of 48 bird boxes will be installed in selected municipal districts within the joint project between the City of Ostrava and the student organization SOVA from the Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science.
In recent years, there has been a reduction in the number of bird sites and the bird population is declining. It is a worldwide trend, and some major global cities have already responded to this by researching bird behaviour and promoting nesting in urban space. Ostrava has joined this effort.
“We have become involved in a project that will contribute to improving the situation of birds in our city and bringing the balance back to places where typical bird species are disappearing. A total of 46 hanging bird boxes were placed in 12 sites in three city districts – Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz, Slezská Ostrava and Mariánské Hory a Hulváky. If the project proves successful, it will be extended to other parts of the city”, explains Kateřina Šebestová, the Deputy Mayor for the Environment.
The student organization SOVA placed bird houses in selected locations.
“We chose them in relation to the building density, the presence of suitable trees and the agreement with the landowners. We expect that this project will tell us how much birds are affected by urban development when nesting. At the same time, ecotoxicological research should be carried out. This means that by analyzing bird shells we will find out how Ostrava is ‘infested’ with heavy metals from industry or transport”, says Stanislav Ožana, a PhD student of the Department of Biology and Ecology, who is in charge of the project.
He and his colleagues chose two colours – turquoise and brown. The first colour was chosen mainly due to the colour in the Ostrava city logo. They want to use the contrast between the two colours to explore the preferences of birds looking for a safe haven against predators.
The ornithologist Otakar Závalský, who works together with the students, welcomes the initiative of the Faculty of Science.
“There have been very few similar research projects in the centre of a big city, so let’s see what it brings. Although I have many years of experience, I may be surprised by the result. So let’s see what species of birds will nest here”, explains Deputy Chairman of the Poodří Rescue Station and House of Nature.
The whole project will run this year in pilot mode and at the end of the nesting season biologists will carry out an overall evaluation.
Source: University of Ostrava