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Astrakhan, Georgia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt: Nizhny Novgorod’s Chick Named Sanja Flies as Far as Africa

Date of publication: 21 September 2021

As early as this summer, a special GPS tracker was attached to the little bird’s body to trace down its migration.

This summer, Nizhny Novgorod Region has seen the start of a very special environmental project to track the migration of rare red-listed osprey birds.  For this purpose, a special GPS tracker was attached to this chick’s body to trace down its migration.


The osprey named Sanja is flying from Nizhny Novgorod Region to Africa for wintering: its route

“When the chick is still in the nest, an ornithologist climbs the tree to reach it,” said Angelina Bakka, Lead Environmental Engineer of Environmental Safety and Rational Nature Management Section at Transneft Upper Volga. “He puts a ring on the chick and hangs a tracker onto it. This means that there is no need to catch the bird or remove it from the nest. It keeps on sitting on the tree but with a tracker now. This year, only one chick appeared in the artificial nest and so the tracker was attached to it.

Throughout this summer, this tiny device kept transmitting signals with the bird's geo-position, which have been recorded by birdwatchers. And it became known in September that the osprey named Sanja set out from Lyskovo Area of Nizhny Novgorod Region to Africa.

The chick already reached the Saratov Region early in September, then briefly visited the Astrakhan Nature Reserve, got to Turkey via Georgia approximately on 9 September and was in Syria already on 13 September. Judging by the track, the chick is heading to Africa.


The osprey named Sanja is flying from Nizhny Novgorod Region to Africa for wintering: its route.

On 15 September, it crossed the Red Sea and stayed for a short rest in the area of Hurghada. And on 20 September, the osprey was already catching fish in the Nile waters.


The osprey named Sanja is flying from Nizhny Novgorod Region to Africa for wintering: its route

According to experts, the osprey is a rare and large bird of prey listed in the Red Book of Russia. The bird places its nest close to its feeding area and it feeds on fish. The snapped off tops of a shrunken or withered tree high above the ground often become the nesting place.

It’s noteworthy that ospreys often fly away from the European part of Russia to Africa or Asia for wintering. Yet every year they get back to the same area in Russia for nesting and breeding. Now a special device helps ornithologists keep track of this rare species migration. The migrations of ospreys nesting in Nizhny Novgorod Region were never tracked before, so this is a groundbreaking moment.

The name was changed to "Sanja" for a reason, since the experts still don't know whether it's a boy or a girl chick.

As a reminder, the pilot environmental project of watching rare bird species has been implemented by Transneft Upper Volga together with Zeleny Mir (Green World) dedicated to monitoring of the nesting of rare bird species in the Lyskovo Area of Nizhny Novgorod Region. As part of the project, the Company helped purchase special equipment to monitor the red-listed ospreys. All previous attempts to track the migration of this bird species failed.

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