Hazeley Heath Bird Ringing Demonstration

Hazeley Heath Bird Ringing Demonstration ~ 13th March 2016 ~ 

Ringing demonstrations are brilliant because not only do you get the chance to talk to people about birds, ringing (what, why and how we do it) but you are also in a unique position to engage and inspire people to take more of an interest in birds and the natural world, and who knows, you might just inspire someone enough that they start training to ring!
I feel that being able to see a bird up close in the hand, or perhaps even getting the chance to release a bird after it's been processed, is on another level compared to seeing one up in a tree or flying overhead; it's a tangible experience that will hopefully create a lasting impression.
I think I feel this way because I got into ringing by having the chance to release a Sedge Warbler at Birdfair way back in 2011. I hope that I am now in a position to create that experience for someone else and inspire them to take up birding or ringing or even just to take a closer look at nature from now on. At ringing demonstrations I make a conscious effort to try and talk to the younger attendees and give them the opportunities to release the birds once they are done, after all they are the future so we need to try and enable them to connect with and be interested in the natural world so that they feel a part of it and not separate to it, as so many people nowadays seem to be.
Anyway, on Sunday (13th) I helped my trainer Martin and fellow C ringer Ian with a ringing demonstration at our main site: Hazeley Heath. It is a wonderful site and never ceases to amaze us, whether that's with the species we catch or the numbers that we catch them in - it's just superb.
Well, on Sunday it amazed us in both of the aforementioned ways because we caught around 80 birds (a very good total considering none of us have visited the site for ages) and in that total were some very good species, including Green Woodpecker (not something we catch very often!) and a Marsh Tit!
Now Marsh Tits are a red-listed species and are not very common in our local area at all so the fact that the bird we caught on Sunday was actually the 4th (I think) Marsh Tit we've caught there is a very good sign indeed and makes me wonder whether perhaps they are actually more numerous than we think and are actually just under recorded due to a lack of observers...who knows but it was definitely stole the 'bird of the day' title from the Green Woodpecker!
We had a great day and lots of members of the public turned out to come and see what we were doing which was great! As well as being supported by the Hart Countryside Rangers we were also joined by wardens from the Thames Basin Heaths Partnership Project who came armed with hot drinks and biscuits for everybody, as well as some information about what they do on the Heaths. Oh and to round off a brilliant day, I spotted an Adder warming up in the sun just before we left the site!

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