The main objective of the study is to identify impacts of nomads and their livestock on bird species composition, migration, and distribution in the project’s six valleys by:
- gathering information and data on species composition, i.e., observe seasonal movement of species within their habitats, differences among habitats, and external impacts including human, livestock grazing and climate change.
- conducting detailed studies and observations on breeding and nesting of birds (i.e., observe breeding of species in each biotope, nesting, and duration of breeding season.
- conducting studies and observations on rare, endangered and predatory species
Methods of observation, nest counting, mist net, and bird banding are used for our study. Mist netting is an effective means of recording quiet and skulking the forest understory and shrub species, which may not be recorded using other techniques. It can be effectively used to study not only species composition, but also weight gain, body sizes and feather shedding of individual bird species.
Human and livestock impacted transect was taken from the river confluence along the riparian zone at 2-3 km distance. This selected site is one of the main grazing areas during the spring and summer and also one of the stopover and breeding sites for migratory species during these seasons.
No human and livestock impacted transect was taken in unpopulated areas or the areas near winter settlements that were free of humans and livestock in summertime.
Crosscutting transects were taken in different parts of the natural zones, i.e., steppe, forest, meadow, and riparian zones in each valley. The transects were taken by cutting across the impacted and unimpacted transects mentioned.
In total, 118 species representing 45 families and 15 orders were recorded during the summers of 2002-2004.
Nesting, breeding and moulting grounds and habitats of migratory species that constitute 75-80 % of the total birds recorded were overlapped with the herders’ summer areas and livestock grazing areas. On the other hand, more birds were gathered near the Lake’s Outflow and wetland areas, due in part to the relatively higher level of precipitation that occurred in 2003 that filled many pond areas near the lake shore.
Additionally it was observed that the number of birds recorded in the forest, steppe and riparian zones varied during the last two years (2003 and 2004). This also appears to be dependent on the amounts of precipitation that occurred in the region. For instance, in each valley the number of riparian zone species was higher in the summer of 2003 compared to those in the summer of 2002, due to increased precipitation in 2003.