Colour ringing scheme

Monday, January 11th 2010

Today was the first day of a colour band ringing scheme at Foxglove. This project will involve only two species: Blackbirds and Bullfinches. The ring combination will enable us to identify individual birds around the reserve without having to catch them again.

Blackbird

If you see birds with coloured rings on, please report them to us at the Field Centre. It is important to note the exact colour combination of rings on each leg. For example, left leg - green over metal, right leg - red over blue. In this picture the male Blackbird has red over metal on the left leg and red over red on the right. Each bird will have four rings allowing us to colour mark 729 birds individually.

Female Blue Tit

This female Blue Tit was re-trapped today. She hatched in 2003 and was ringed at Foxglove in 2004. She seemed to be in fine fettle considering the fact that she is 6 years old and has just survived over three weeks of extremely harsh winter weather. Other species that spent a brief time in the ringing room today included Brambling, Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch. The birds seem to be in good condition apart from being a little low on weight. A reminder to us all to continue feeding the birds who have hardly any wild food available at all now.

In 2009 a total of 3073 new birds was ringed on the reserve, the fourth best annual total ever. The best year was in 2007 when 3488 new birds were ringed and the poorest year 1998 when only 1351 were ringed. The all time total for new birds at Foxglove after today stands at 50 birds short of 40,000!


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