Monday, May 25, 2020

Catching Up

We have now lost two months of ringing with a corresponding loss of two months of data collection. Bird ringers confined to barracks have not caught other ringers’ birds and ringers have been unable to catch birds previously ringed by others. 

Many ringed birds are recovered via Joe Public when they report their finding of a ringed bird via the address inscribed on each ring, but with so many people stuck at home it was inevitable that incoming information would be much less. 

Bird Rings - Size E and Size F 

Although ringing is no longer all about the where and when of bird movements, it is always interesting and thought provoking to receive a BTO notification about a bird ringed weeks, months or years before. Even better perhaps is to catch a bird wearing an unfamiliar ring number with a foreign ring, the ultimate prize for many bird ringers. 

The emphasis of bird ringing is the generation of information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing. Ringing data make a major contribution to the study of population changes and to the understanding of species declines. 

Bird populations are determined by the number of fledglings raised and the survival of both juveniles and adults. 

On Monday, and after a weekend of gale force winds, we had a chance to remedy the recent data loss with an overdue visit to Oakenclough. There was a promise of a 5 mph and early morning sunshine for the meet with Andy at 0600. 

At this time of year we don’t expect huge catches because migration is over and birds have settled down in one spot to breed. It will be mid to late June before the catch rate improves. Therefore our catch of just eight birds came as no surprise and accompanied with the ringer’s refrain – “Well if you don’t go, you don’t know”. 

Our eight birds generated a little new data by way of  4 Blackcap (2 male, 2 female ) 2 male Willow Warbler, 1 juvenile Robin and 1 juvenile Wren. 




Recapture Willow Warbler KCE788, an adult male was ringed here at Oakenclough on 24th July 2019 when it was undertaking its main moult period prior to heading back to Africa. It was in breeding condition again today where it was caught and then released in exactly the same area. 

Willow Warbler 


This was a quiet morning and other than the birds caught there was little to see; except for 2 Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 40 Greylag , 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Lapwing. 


Stevenson Q said...

Phil those are very very very cute birds you shared us today! They all look tiny and very adorable. I hope and pray you can go back safely to ringing just in time when our flying friends start to roam around again. Have a great new week my friend Phil, God bless you and stay safe and happy!

NCSue said...

Your robins and goldfinches look entirely different from birds of the same name across the pond. I always find that interesting.
Thanks for linking up at

A Bit of the Blarney said...

What beautiful photos and so personal that they find you a friend! Thank you!

eileeninmd said...


It is sad to miss all the migrated birds with the lockdown or stay at orders. I missed all the shorebirds, we usually see in early May.
I hope your ringing picks up, great photos of the birds. The Blackcaps is a favorite. The young robin is sweet. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

birds just seem innately cute to me and I always enjoy your posts - thanks so much for the info and wonderful photos

Ella said...

Very beautiful photos!
The robins and goldfinches are so cute!
wishing you a nice week!

Powell River Books said...

The pandemic has disrupted so many different aspects of our lives. - Margy

Veronica Lee said...

Love, love, love the cute birds you shared today, Phil!

Happy Tuesday!

Lady Fi said...

Sweet shots.

Wally Jones said...

For us, just going through the motions of going birding has been therapeutic. One of the trendy phrases I have really come to despise is: "The New Normal". Won't be using it.

Although you have missed an entire season of data, you are now back in the groove of getting out and collecting current information, which is useful in its own right. I like your "ringer's motto", which applies equally to birding in general.

It must feel good to have a bird in hand again, slipping a ring onto a leg, releasing your subject.

All good here. Getting much needed rain.

Thank you, Phil, for being a bastion of the "Normal Normal"! Take care.

Mike Attwood said...

Some more nice shots Phil. Stay safe. Mike.

Angie said...

Phil - it hurts my heart to read about this time lost and data lost, so I can only imagine how you and your fellow ringers must feel. I can only hope that people staying inside has been a boon for all of our wildlife around the world!

Rhodesia said...

Good to hear that you are getting back to some sort of normality but please stay safe. I love that little robin so cute.
I have seen the Little Owl over the last two evenings so I am feeling a bit happier to say the least of it, but there still seems to be only one out hunting. Keep well, Diane

Lowcarb team member said...

I certainly enjoyed seeing the birds here, my favourite is the robin.

All the best Jan

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