The Day has already written that swans and other feathery species have made Sevastopol their winter “residence.” White swans, coots, and great crested grebes have found shelter in the white-stone city, where they can rest and restore strength. So feeding and watching birds is now one of the city residents’ favorite entertainments. But area researcher Mykola Shyk told The Day he takes a dim view of hand-feeding. “In this period, individuals can get infected with bird flu. No instances of this have been recorded this year, but this risk does exist,” he says. The area researcher strongly advises: “It is better to throw bread into water. Besides, birds could keep themselves well-fed even without human help. Swans are herbivorous birds. They feed on various algae and marine plants, and if they have run out of food in one bay, they can well fly off to another, where it is in abundance.”
Yet Shyk gives the following advice to those who are not going to deny themselves a good mood and the birds a tasty dinner: “Swans can be fed with boiled carrots, potatoes, and wheaten bread.” Marharyta Lytvynenko, chairperson of the Council of Sevastopol Non-Governmental Ecological Organizations, advises city residents to feed birds with wheaten bread only – rye bread is out of the question. “In principle, when it is warm, waterfowl usually need no additional feeding because they can fly from one bay to another, where there is food, but when it turns colder, the birds will really need human help, for they will be unable to freely fly from bay to bay in a frost. So we should feed birds, but we must know what to feed with,” she says. Shyk says there are hundreds of birds in Sevastopol bays, and more are expected in a few days’ time. The precise number of migratory birds will be known in early February, when specialists will take the stock. As birds are not ringed in the city, the area researcher says he can only surmise where the winged tenants will fly to us from: “Most probable than not, they will be Ukrainian birds, as well as some from Belarus and Russia. They will fly from here to their homeland to produce offspring.”
Incidentally, bird safety is under special supervision in Sevastopol. The city bays are patrolled. Oleksandr Hiunovsky, state environmental protection inspector, said to The Day: “No instances of poaching were recorded this year. Last year there was an attempt to attack a bird, but we managed to thwart it.”
TO THE POINT
UNN reports, quoting the press service of the Sevastopol territorial department of the Ukrainian State Service for Emergencies, that Sevastopol life guards are urging city residents to feed up birds in the bays. Sevastopol bays usually provide shelter to about 400 young and weakened swans which stay to hibernate there because they are unable to make long flights to warmer places. “They should be additionally fed in this period because they are short of natural food,” says Volodymyr Hryhoriev, deputy head of the search and rescue unit at the State Service’s territorial department.