About 2 – 3 thousand red-chested birds overwinter in Kazan each year.
Professor Ilgizar Rakhimov, Chairman of the Tatarstan Branch of the Russian Bird Conservation Union, Chair of the Department of Bioecology, Hygiene and Public Health, says that bullfinches fly in to Kazan when winter firmly sets foot here and depart in late December. They can be very rarely seen here until February after that. During the coldest period, they migrate slightly to the south.
“This October, just little ‘reconnaissance’ groups arrived to Kazan,” explains Professor Rakhimov. “You can barely them anywhere, although it’s high time for them. Keeping in mind that rowan berries are plentiful this season, bullfinches must be eating them already. However, snow has just laid down, and they started to come here.”
In particular, bullfinches seem to favor the Rector’s Garden near Kazan University’s Main Building – there can be as many as 300 birds here in some years. Of course, that’s because rowan trees are present here.
“After appearing in late October – early November, bullfinches occupy parks and gardens in search of rowan berries. When they peck on berries, some of the mushed mass falls on the ground. You can easily spot such flesh remains on the ground under the trees. Seemingly, this is an obvious fault on their part. But there is a secret – by dropping a part of their booty on the ground, bullfinches actually make reserves for the upcoming spring. When no berries are to be found, melting snow usually reveals those exact fallen berries. That’s how bullfinches find nutrition for the austere season.”
Source text: Kristina Ivanova
Translation: Yury Nurmeev