Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Birdman of Puschino-on-Oka

June 29th, 2012 · 1 Comment

A quick backgrounder on a man whose intense dedication to an arcane pursuit I truly admire, though I can by no means claim to understand it:

A cryogenics and nerve cells specialist, Russian biophysicist Boris Nikolayevich Veprintsev (1928-1990) started recording Soviet birds on homemade equipment in 1957 while studying at Moscow University, undertaking annual birding expeditions throughout the country, a habit he kept almost until his death. Veprintsev collected thousand recordings documenting the Soviet avifauna as well as mammals, fishes, amphibians and insects of the East European Plain region, including rare and now extinct species. His first LP, Morning in the Forest, was published in 1960, with the approval of Khrushchev himself, though Veprintsev’s family had been harassed by the Soviet regime, and Boris’ father sent to the gulag in the 1940s. Veprintsev subsequently published as many as 28 LPs, amounting to over 500 bird voices. He founded the Soviet Archive of Wildlife Sounds of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1973, located in Puschino-on-Oka, 120 km south of Moscow, where Veprintsev worked as head of the Academy’s Laboratory of Biophysics of nerve cells from 1966.

Much more here, though you’ll probably have to use Google’s handy translate function.

(Image via Continuo)


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One Comment so far ↓

  • capturedshadow

    I met the consul general of Ecuador once and he described his hobby of recording bird sounds. Walking in the rainforest loaded with recording equipment didn’t sound that great to me, but he enjoyed it in assignments all over the world. Or I suppose he could have been using that for a cover story while secretly recording conversations of Peruvian spies…….