Monday, 22 August 2011

Bird Ringing

Last week we did a spot of bird ringing, the aim was to catch a few migratory species before they head back South for the Winter. If the birds are caught again as they migrate or at their destination it will give us a better idea of the routes they take and the conditions of the habitat they are using. This can flag up any problems as the birds are weighed and measured before being ringed and each subsequent time they are caught, the weights can then be compared. The birds are now starting to move South slowly, feeding up as they go on berries, small insects and flies, they are trying to put on fat reserves to increase their chances of migrating successfully.
To catch the birds we erected a mist net and then played a recording of Chiffchaffs and Willow warblers to draw the birds towards the net, the nets cause no harm and all birds are extracted by trained bird ringers.
We had a very successful few hours with the first bird being a bit of a surprise, a Spotted Flycatcher had by chance hit the net. It turned out that the bird was one of this years young, it has therefore started the very long journey South to Africa for the first time.
We also ringed Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Blue tit and a very young Robin that still didn't have a red chest.
Juvenile Willow Warbler

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