Lockdown Bird Ringing

Despite lockdown restricting many people's ability to get out into nature and connect with the environment, for me at least it has shifted my focus onto the wildlife found in my local area, and as my previous blog alluded to, you'd be amazed at what you can find if you just take the time to look. 

As a keen birder and bird ringer, not being able to access some of my usual sites has been a bit of a bummer, but I feel very fortunate to have been able to continue ringing in my modest suburban garden, and it's been quite remarkable seeing just how many birds use the feeders on a daily basis. Since the start of Lockdown 2.0 on 5th November 2020, I have caught 170 birds in our 10 x 14 m garden, 123 of which were Goldfinches. Other species included 20 tits (Blue, Great & Coal) and seven Greenfinches.

Adult male Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Over the last week or so, a number of Siskins have joined the other finches on the feeders, and whilst scanning them with binoculars I was surprised to see that at least two of them already had rings on (very exciting as I've not ringed any Siskins in my garden before). I wasn't quick enough to read the ring numbers with bins or a scope however, so I made various attempts to catch them. 

In doing so I managed to catch not one, but eight birds, far more than I originally thought were present. This included one of the birds already wearing a ring, and after submitting the data to the British Trust for Ornithology (who coordinate the British Ringing Scheme), I was delighted to receive the news that the bird had originally been ringed in Melvich, Highland on 10th May 2019, some 629 days previously and having moved a total of 824 km... not too shabby for a bird weighing ~13g!

Adult male Siskin Carduelis spinus

This just goes to show how much bird ringing helps to further our knowledge and understanding of British birds, their population changes and movements, as well as highlighting the importance of gardens for birds and other wildlife. You can find out more about ringing and how to get involved on the BTO's website, and for an animated visualisation of Siskin movements in Europe, the Euro Bird Portal is pretty snazzy.

Adult female Siskin Carduelis spinus

Siskin movement from Melvich, Highland to NE Hampshire, a total of 824 km.

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