Nightingales come to Moscow

May 17
Parks and pedestrian areas

Nightingales have returned to the city. Employees of the Department for Environmental Management and Protection (MosPriroda) heard their singing in the Kuzminki-Lyublino nature and history park.

Usually, these birds come back rather late, when the trees turn green. There are several nightingale species in Russia. In Moscow you can see (and hear) the thrush nightingale or sprosser. Like other singing birds, nightingales warble to attract females and mark out the territory where they will build a nest. During the first two weeks of the mating season, a nightingale sings almost round the clock with a brief midday break.  Later the intensity of singing subsides, with males falling almost completely silent after the young hatch.  In July, the melodic trills stop altogether.

Specialists say it is not easy to see a nightingale. The birds are rather secretive and prefer to hide amid dense vegetation. Outwardly, a nightingale is unremarkable. It is slightly bigger than a sparrow, with olive-brown feathers on its wings and grey-brown fluff on the lower parts of its body.

More often than not, its nest is concealed in dense shrubs or amid high grass.   The birds are fond of nesting in small river or rivulet valleys. In Moscow, you can meet them in parks and gardens or in the courtyards of apartment buildings.

The birds feed on insects, spiders, centipedes, and other invertebrates, which they pick up from the ground. In late summer, just before leaving for the south, nightingales can peck berries and seeds.

From late August, they gradually depart for their winter quarters in Northern Africa or Southern Europe. MosPriroda counts the number of songbirds every year as part of its environmental programme. Their habitats are marked on an interactive map. The nightingales have taken fancy to certain areas, such as Ramenki, Brateyevo, Lyublino, Yuzhnoye Butovo, among others.


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