White Crane Day will be celebrated at Zaryadye Park on Saturday, 21 October. The event is dedicated to this rare bird listed in the Red Data Book that only nests in Russia. There will be a lecture filled with interesting facts about the Siberian white crane and a creative workshop on making paper cranes.
“We have prepared a special programme for White Crane Day. Russia celebrates this day every year on 22 October,” said Pavel Trekhleb, the park’s director. “As part of a long-standing tradition, on this day people celebrate not just the beautiful white birds themselves, but also their poetic image, often praised in literature. This is the bird that symbolises heroes who fell on battlefields. We would like people to know why this bird was given this honour.”
This celebration got its name after the work of Soviet and Russian poet Rasul Gamzatov, which was published in 1968. The poet compared soldiers of the Great Patriotic War to white cranes flying in the sky. The cranes became a symbol for such tragic events for a reason. These large graceful birds are on the verge of extinction. Their habitat is shrinking every year. Today white cranes can be found in the Urals, the Far East and Western Siberia. The population of Siberian cranes in the wild is estimated at less than 3,000. These birds only nest far away from people, in clean wetlands, untouched by industrial pollution. Siberian cranes differ from other crane species not just in the colour of their feathers, but also their high-pitched call, which can be heard several miles away. Native peoples of Siberia believe these birds to be sacred.
A free four-hour workshop on making paper cranes will start in the Nature Centre at 11.30 am. The workshop, hosted by a professional decorator, will be open to the public. Participants will be able to keep their handmade cranes as souvenirs.
The lecture on white cranes will be held in the same pavilion, between 2 pm and 3.30 pm. It will be delivered by Yelizaveta Arsenyeva, an expert in biology and ornithology, who heads the Department of Science and Environmental Education at Losiny Ostrov National Park. She will speak about white cranes and other rare birds listed in the Russian Red Book. During the lecture visitors will learn how many species of cranes there are on the planet, why cranes were called birds of the sun in Ancient Egypt, and whether cranes really are one of the smartest birds. After the lecture visitors will be able to take part in a quiz, where they will have to figure out which parks and natural reserves in Russia are inhabited by white cranes. Between 4 pm and 5 pm the Nature Centre will host poetry readings on great deeds, spirituality and white cranes.
On 16 October, an outdoor exhibition called Zapovednaya Rossiya (Untouched Russia) opened in Zaryadye. The exhibition features 30 unique photographs of wildlife captured by photographers in various parts of Russia. In addition, the Russian Arctic exhibition is also still open in the park, featuring drawings made by famous explorers, their everyday items and equipment from the first Arctic expeditions, and many other interesting exhibits at the park’s Media Centre pavilion.