Ornithologist Day in Russia Date in the current year: February 19, 2024

Ornithologist Day in Russia Russian ornithologists celebrate their professional holiday, Ornithologist Day, on February 19. It commemorates the foundation of the All-Union Ornithological Society of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union in 1983.

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that studies birds. Humans have observed birds since prehistoric times, and the earliest scientific works mentioning birds were Aristotle’s History of Animals (4th century BC) and Pliny the Elder’s Natural History (77 AD). One of the most important medieval works on ornithology is De arte venandi cum avibus (On the Art of Hunting with Birds), a treatise written by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.

The term “ornithology” is believed to have been introduced by Ulisse Aldrovandi, an Italian naturalist, in the late 16th century. But the emergence of ornithology as a scientific discipline began somewhat later. Among the most important works that contributed to the early development of ornithology were Francis Willughby’s Ornithologiae Libri Tres (Three Boos of Ornithology) and Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.

Present-day ornithology studies the species diversity of birds, as well as the taxonomy, physiology, ethology, ecology, and phenology of birds. In addition, its tasks include finding ways to protect endangered bird species. Ornithologists use a wide range of tools, techniques and approaches, including bird collections, field studies, and laboratory methods.

Although ornithology in the Soviet Union developed just as actively as other branches of zoology, Soviet ornithologists didn’t have a professional organization for a long time. This changed after the 18th International Ornithological Congress, which was held in Moscow in 1982. After the successful congress, more than two hundred leading ornithologists from all over the USSR gathered at the founding convention of the All-Union Ornithological Society. The convention opened on February 19, 1983; the anniversary of this event is now celebrated as Russia’s Ornithologist Day.

After the collapse of the USSR, the All-Union Ornithological Society was transformed into the Menzbier Ornithological Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was named after Mikhail Menzbier, a renowned Russian ornithologist who is regarded as the “father of Russian ornithology”.

Today, the Menzbier Ornithological Society unites professional and amateur ornithologists from all over the country. Its logo depicts a red-breasted goose, a vulnerable species of goose that breeds in Arctic Siberia, mainly on the Taymyr Peninsula. In addition to developing Russian ornithology, the Menzbier Ornithological Society focuses on establishing and maintaining ties with ornithologists from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Alongside members of the Menzbier Ornithological Society, Ornithologist Day is considered the professional holiday of members of the Russian Society for the Conservation and Study of Birds, Russian Union for the Protection of Birds, and other organizations involved in the study and conservation of wild birds. On the occasion of the holiday, they participate in conferences, seminars, and other scientific and educational events.

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Ornithologist Day in Russia, holidays in Russia, professional holidays, unofficial holidays, All-Union Ornithological Society