The reasonable weather of recent weeks coupled with a generally good breeding season resulting in plenty of young birds about has provided the momentum for plenty of action from the county bird ringers. Scientifically there is value in ringing young birds in the nest, inasmuch that it provides a significant understanding of their life history when seen or recovered again. However this isn't always feasible, so the next best thing is to try and ring birds which are clearly juveniles and can be easily aged as 'hatched that year'. The moult strategy employed by a bird may sometimes provide a significant clue as to the age of the bird. Some species may retain much of their juvenile feathers until a year later, whereas some species such as Tree Sparrow and Long-tailed Tit will rapidly moult the feathers they left the nest with and become very difficult to identify from adults.
Yesterday John Woollett ringed at Stortons GP and Chris Payne ringed in his excellent bird garden in Greens Norton. John caught typical species associated with the reserve and Chris ringed good numbers of House Sparrows plus other species including Starling, Collared Dove, finches, tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Yesterday afternoon and this morning saw Dave Francis and colleagues ringing at the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station at Pitsford Reservoir. This produced a very high total of 110 birds, 102 which were new. The total included 27 Tree Sparrows (nearly all juveniles), 10 Chaffinches, 8 Sedge Warblers, 4 Reed Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Moorhen and a Woodpigeon! Using mist-nets also provides an indication of what is lurking in the often dense seasonable foliage when small birds are typically very hard to spot!