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European Russian Breeding Bird Atlas species accounts - in English (1 Viewer)

For my own personal use/interest, when I finally had some time back in April and May of this year, I set about the long and (for me) arduous task of translating my copy of the Russian Atlas (to be precise ONLY the species accounts), which was published around same time (little earlier I think maybe) than the full EBBA2. I only have very basic Russian language skills, so 90% of the actual initial translations was done using Google Translate, and the rest, where Google failed, was accomplished using my limited knowledge of Russian, my rather more knowledge of the geography of this part of Russia, decent familiarity with its birds from multiple visits over a 9 year period, and much googling in both Russian and English for things I just could not understand. I took a long pause after completing the first pass translations and adding the maps (anyone interested in how I approached these please see the attached notes on maps pdf - point is most of mine did NOT come from the book).

Anyway, I recently returned to the project to begin cleaning up a little the bad/strange English that resulted from the first pass, as well as trying to standardize and make more consistent certain decisions I made later in the effort that were not applied in the earlier phases. I am about one quarter through this process.

To be honest since I did this for myself I don't have huge motivation for this tidying up phase. What I have done is fine for me (ok a little squirm inducing at times at the English). But part of me feels like this should be shared with other interested souls who can read English but not Russian.

So, I am posting this to gauge what if any interest there might be for this in the wider birding community? As probably one of the least social birders out there, I wasn't sure how/where to do this, but seems like maybe this could be a good place? Clearly my timing is not great, given how the likelihood of non-Russian birdwatchers travelling pretty much anywhere in Russia has now plummeted to levels probably not seen since the Cold War (and it is not like there were many of us there even before the Ukraine invasion!).

In order maybe to help here, I picked one of my translated versions of a rather random species account from the 100+ I have cleaned up - Willow Grouse - as a sample to attach here. All my translated accounts follow the same model. (On a side note, on my own version of my translations I also always include the texts for the same species from EBBA2, for context, and because in many cases the Russian and the European accounts complement each other, but for obvious reasons I am removing the EBBA2 text here and would do same in any scenario where I share my Russian atlas translations. Since the EBBA2 maps are publicly available online so I don't see issues with sharing those so those I kept in my sample translation here).

On this topic - my translations are my own (ok mostly Google's!), are not authorized, definitely not official, and for sure full of errors or at least oddities (but I hope few if any of any real significance). Probably a controversial choice (but again, important to remember this whole effort was done only for my own personal use - at least up to now), but I do NOT include names of authors of species accounts anywhere, partly because (sorry!) they are of no interest to me - I also excluded them from all my copies of the EBBA2 species accounts that I inserted into my version - but even more because translation is actually a lot simpler (because of Google Translate etc) than transliteration, which is a total pain in the neck to tackle without fluency in both languages. Equally controversial maybe, at times I insert my own comments (always in parentheses) usually to provide a definition of a scientific term I was unfamiliar with, even in English, or sometimes to locate an unfamiliar place mentioned in the text, or, much more rarely, to make a note to myself about something in the text (often about plants mentioned). Again, this is my translation for my own use, so some oddities apply!

Anyway - attached are my translated version of the Willow Grouse account from the Russian Atlas, plus screenshots of the original account in the book, plus a rather long explanation about the maps, what I did and why, and the pros and cons of my approach here.

Depending on the level of interest I may make the whole thing available on demand in English (ie all approx 410 species accounts), or I may at least write to the Russian editors again - one of who gave me the book in the first place - and seek guidance in the event there is some interest.

Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 36 Willow Grouse.pdf
    767.5 KB · Views: 35
  • Willow Grouse - original Russian.pdf
    4.9 MB · Views: 14
  • NOTES ON MAPS.pdf
    74.7 KB · Views: 7
Update: not seeing much interest here, which is totally understandable given the rather esoteric subject matter, and even more so at this sad moment in history. Given that I prefer not to have to use this forum again, anyone who does come across this post and has an interest in these translations please feel free to email me directly at: [email protected]. I will respond to any requests on a case by case basis for now (as opposed to simply making the whole thing publicly available somewhere).

Two comments to avoid potential disappointment or time wasting:

1. If it is mainly maps you are interested in I would say do not bother. The ones in the Russian Atlas are based on the identical data as the maps freely available online from the EBBA2 site, and are presented in more or less the same way, bar some stylistic differences, and a tiny substantive difference in that the atlas squares used in the Russian Atlas extend just a little further to the east along the Urals border between Europe and Asia than those included in EBBA2. So the maps in the Russian Atlas really don't provide anything significant that you cannot find either in the EBBA2 book or on the free EBBA2 web site - which is part of the reason why, as my notes attached in my original post explained, I mostly used the EBBA2 maps alongside my translations.

2. If you are mainly interested in the accounts of species breeding solely or primarily in Russia in the EBBA2 area (eg the many "sibes", as twitchers often call them, that breed within the boundaries of European Russia), I would also say maybe do not bother. In most, but not all, cases the authors of the Russian Atlas species accounts for those solely/predominantly European Russian breeding species (within the EBBA2 area) also (co)authored the EBBA2 species accounts. This is not to say the two sets of accounts are identical in those cases - they are not - but they do have heavy overlap, especially in the most interesting aspects. It is mostly therefore the text accounts of all the other species covered in the Russian atlas (approx. 415 of them total) that may be of interest to anyone who already has the EBBA2 book, but is looking for a more specifically European Russian perspective - hence my choice as a sample species account of Willow Grouse, which for most serious European birdwatchers is a rather unexciting European species that nobody would go all the way to Russia to seek.
 
Due to large file size I have decided to break my unofficial translation up into four parts, two each for Non-Passerines and Passerines. The first part, covering Swans to Bustards is now finished and is available for viewing or downloading from Google Drive, together with a companion PDF where I assembled a bunch of different types of maps and other useful references - almost entirely found on the Web while working on this project - to assist in the place names and geographical/ecological features mentioned in the texts. This is more to help people unfamiliar with European Russia, the names of its cities and administrative regions, its major rivers, lakes, uplands and other primary topographical features, as well as its different ecoregions, and so on.

One change from what I wrote before, I have now gone back and added the names of the Russian authors to all the species accounts translations, and I have also added source and copyright info to all the maps taken from the EBBA2.info web site, per the guidelines there.

I have tried to improve the English during the proof-reading and clean-up process I am currently engaged in, but this is an amateur translation by someone with only basic Russian. There will be mistakes! The foundation of all the translations here has been the work of online translation engines, primarily Google Translate, with some heavy editing and modification afterwards as needed to fix the errors and machine weirdness. In many places I added notes of my own - in brackets - almost always to provide a definition or clarification of a technical term or a place mentioned in the text.

This is an unofficial translation of the Russian species accounts from the Russian Atlas, together with maps from both that book and the EBBA2.info site. This a personal project conducted purely by myself and for myself, but because it seemed that others might find this interesting, I have decided to share this work, which had no involvement, approval or support from anyone connected with either the Russian Atlas or EBBA2 projects.

I realize the timing is unfortunate for this. I began this project literally a month or so before the Ukraine invasion began. It was originally intended solely for my personal use because I was hoping, with Covid finally on the wane, that I might be able to return to Russia after a gap of two years, and I wanted, finally, to be able to take a good reference about European Russian birds in English with me on my iPad! People plan and God laughs as the saying goes!

Hopefully I will get to return one day, but in the meantime, I am making this work available to anyone interested in European Russian birds.

Just drop me a line at [email protected] and I will forward the links to the two files where they can be freely viewed and/or downloaded.

The second part, which will complete the Non-Passerines, is also rather close to completion now, and I shall post it and the later Passerine sections as I finish them, together with a note here to let anyone interested know. The core translation work for all species accounts was finished a while ago now, but the proofing and clean-up, adding the authors names and the EBBA2.info citations all takes time with over 400 species to go through! And I have other commitments. So no ETA for finishing the Passerine sections, but hopefully before the end of year.
 
Thanks Mike! I should have added that for anyone interested in viewing these files, but without a Google Account, I can also send these just as easily via WeTransfer, so please state your preferences when you contact me for access. Just bear in mind that WeTransfer links expire after 7 days. Thanks!
 
A quick update. I am just wrapping up the second part of my unofficial translation of the European Russian Breeding Bird Atlas. This second part, covering Waders to Woodpeckers will be available for viewing or downloading from Google Drive, from tomorrow, along with the first part of course, for those who want both, together with a companion PDF of "useful" maps etc. This now completes the Non-Passerine species' account translations (243 total species, all but c.10 of which are regular, native, breeding species within European Russia).

Again, for those without Google accounts I can also send via WeTransfer, the only differences being that links expire in 7 days with this service (of course you can always ask for a new one!), and that, unlike Google Drive, you cannot view online, only download.

Just drop me a line at [email protected] and I will forward the links to the files.

I will be taking a break from this project for a bit, but the two remaining parts, covering the 171 Passerine species' accounts (all but c. 5 regular breeders there) will be completed later this autumn.

All the caveats and disclaimers detailed in earlier posts here apply equally here.
 

smiths

Well-known member
Thanks again for this.
Very good to have this recent information in English now, from a part of the world that is not easily accessible (not just due to the language barrier).
It is interesting (for me) to see that Heuglin's Gull and Steppe Gull appear to be breeding in the same region east of Moscow now...
 
Thanks again for this.
Very good to have this recent information in English now, from a part of the world that is not easily accessible (not just due to the language barrier).
It is interesting (for me) to see that Heuglin's Gull and Steppe Gull appear to be breeding in the same region east of Moscow now...
You are very welcome! Glad to see there has been some value in sharing what began as a purely personal project.
 
I have just completed the third part of my unofficial translation of the European Russian Breeding Bird Atlas. This third part is the first of the two Passerine sections, this one covering (in my old-fashioned taxonomic ordering) Larks to Warblers. It is available for viewing or downloading from Google Drive, along with the first two parts covering the 243 Non-Passerine species' account translations of course, for those who want all, together with a companion PDF of "useful" maps etc.

Again, for those without Google accounts I can also send via WeTransfer, the only differences being that links expire in 7 days with this service (of course you can always ask for a new one!), and that, unlike Google Drive, you cannot view online, only download.

All the caveats and disclaimers detailed in earlier posts here apply equally for all parts.

This part covers, in addition to the larks and warblers, all the hirundines, pipits, wagtails, accentors, thrushes, chats, and flycatchers - 96 species in total. Depending on your definition it includes arguably all the LBJs and the bulk of the "sibes" that breed in European Russia.

The final part covering the remaining 75 passerines will be completed sometime (I hope) in the next month or so.

Just drop me a line at [email protected] and I will forward the links to the files. For Gmail accounts I will send the Google Drive links, for the rest I will send via WeTransfer. By default I will send links to all the sections (plus the companion file of helpful maps) - so please let me know if you prefer to only receive specific file(s), which are all PDFs. I won't provide custom files for specific families or species. But of course you are free to delete - or ignore - what you don't want from the files once you have downloaded your own copies.
 
Final proactive post from me on this topic here. The project is complete, and I now have my unofficial translations available for all 414 species accounts in the European Russian Breeding Bird Atlas, and the final, fourth, PDF is now ready along with all the previous ones. This last one covers the 75 species - again in my old fashioned taxonomic ordering - of the Crests through the Buntings, so also all the tits, nuthatches, creepers, orioles, shrikes, corvids, starlings, sparrows and finches.

All the caveats and disclaimers detailed in earlier posts here apply equally for all parts.

As before, just drop me a line at [email protected] and I will forward the links to the files. For Gmail accounts I will send the Google Drive links, for the rest I will send via WeTransfer. By default I will send links to all the sections (plus the companion file of helpful maps) - so please let me know if you prefer to only receive specific file(s), which are all PDFs. I won't provide custom files for specific families or species. But of course you are free to delete - or ignore - what you don't want from the files once you have downloaded your own copies.

Note I now have two versions available, a four part version (the one discussed to date) and a two part version, the only difference being that the latter condensed version does not include any of the full-Europe maps from EBBA2.info that I included in the former. I think these add some useful context, but they also double the page count and file size, and are anyway readily available from that site or the EBBA2 book for those who purchased that.

If requesting access to the files please specify which version - 2 part or 4 part - you are interested in.

While I don't plan to post here again, the files will remain available indefinitely, so if you are interested at any future date feel free to drop me a line (of course maybe someone will do an official translation in the interim and my effort will become redundant!).
 
While I do not have a need for what you have produced, I still applaud you for making the product of your efforts available to those interested!
Niels
Thanks very much Niels for the kind words. Indeed it has been a rather insane effort, one that I never would have attempted probably if I had realized back in early June, when I finished the first draft translations (which were good enough for me), how much more work would be needed to get the whole thing to a state more appropriate for sharing.

You are very far from alone in not "needing" this work, but hopefully one day someone may find a use for it, or an interest in it. I found it an absorbing read, but then I have spent a lot of time looking for birds in that still - to us Westerners anyway - little-known part of the world and find it an endlessly fascinating and exciting place to explore. Of course in the current climate I am doubtful if I will ever return, but still, we can hope better times lie ahead ...
 

Dyrlege

Well-known member
Norway
I didn't see this 'til now, but well done (at the least) and you will find an email from me requesting access and a THANK YOU!
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
England
You deserve a medal - something along the lines of Hero of the Soviet Union.....but don't hold your breath as Vlad is a bit bizzy right now ;)

Although I personally do not envisage having a need for it I do have the Field Guide so it might come in useful(y)

Once again thank you for you Herculean and selfless effort.....

Good birding -

Laurie -
 
You deserve a medal - something along the lines of Hero of the Soviet Union.....but don't hold your breath as Vlad is a bit bizzy right now ;)

Although I personally do not envisage having a need for it I do have the Field Guide so it might come in useful(y)

Once again thank you for you Herculean and selfless effort.....

Good birding -

Laurie -
Well on my last trip to Russia I got detained and then a written warning from the FSB (post-USSR KGB) for being somewhere I was not supposed to be, so Vlad is probably more likely to send me to Siberia than give me a medal should I return there in the current environment :). But thanks for the kind words Laurie!
 
Just seen this. I would find it very interesting
Sure, no problem. Is this the message from the Joshua who emailed me separately yesterday? I don't want to just assume ... If so then I am about to email a reply directly.

For anyone else who may be interested there is one significant update. The Russian organizers of the Russian part of the EBBA2 work, who are also the editors of the Russian Atlas, saw my translations and decided they wish to offer them also to any interested English-speakers to the Russian university site (potentially EBBA2 may do similar). As part of this conversation they provided me all the "as published" Breeding Evidence and Abundance maps used in the Russian atlas. Took a bit of work but I went back and replaced all the maps I used (mix of monochrome cell phone photos from the book for Abundance maps, plus cropped Breeding Evidence maps pulled from the EBBA2.info site) with these, again making the same condensed 2-part (just text plus the Russian atlas breeding evidence and abundance maps) and expanded 4-part version (with the additional full EBBA2 area Abundance, Change and Modelled maps, again from EBBA2.info, just for more context). Follow instructions and more info from previous posts above if interested.
 

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