Friday, 14 June 2013

Bird Ringing

Since moving into to our new place bird ringing has taken a back seat. Well not even that, it's been somewhere in the back of the trailer! Currently our garden isn't suitable for any form of bird ringing - there are just too many cats about. When I lived at Mum and Dad's, few cats, nice big green garden and lots and lots of birds meant it was ideal for bird ringing.

I can still go up to Mum and Dad's to do bird ringing, but instead of being able to put the nets out for an hour or two between other jobs like I used too, I'd now have to set a morning aside to do nothing but bird ringing. And this year I've just not had the time.

I am pleased to say though (and my Twitter followers will know this already) my ringing pliers have come back out over the past few weeks.  Not the mist nets yet though.

For me, the best thing about ringing pulli (that's nestlings) is that I'm also taking part in the BTO Nest Record Scheme. This is a very important and on going scheme as it is the only accurate way of monitoring the breeding success of birds in the UK. As I'm sure you know, you do not have to be a bird ringer to take part in the Nest Record Scheme - for more details see here: http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/nrs. I am very fortunate to have a ringing permit that enables me to ring the young as well, which adds the chance of another avenue of useful data coming from my nest visits.

Swallows are a keen interest of mine, and currently I am monitoring ten active nests. This total could increase dramatically in a week or so though!  Out of the ten, my first visit to each revealed eight nests of eggs and two nests of young. The young were easily big enough to ring and each of the two nests contained five birds.  One of the nests had really big young in which I thought were just a few days from fledging. A week later though and at least four are still snuggled in there...

You can only see two here, all five may well have been in there but I only saw a max of four.

The other nest of five was exactly the same nest I ringed six in last June. If they are the same parents, they are clearly bloody good parents!

As well as Swallows, I've ringed four broods of Tits. One nest with just two young Great Tits in that have just fledged, a box with six young Blue Tits in which should have just fledged (they looked ready to go two days ago), a box with seven Blue Tits that I ringed just a couple of days ago...

They've probably got about ten days left in the nest before fledging

And best of all, because they are on the Red List, a nest box containing two young Marsh Tits (and a cold egg). They were really quite big, with just a few mm of growth required on their outer primaries before being ready to go...

So nearly a 3J!

A follow up visit to the Marsh Tit nest confirmed they have successfully fledged. Fantastic news!

Expect more bird ringing-related post from now on...

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