Apologies for the lack of posts recently. This is because I have not managed to find any time to write with the amount of school work that I have been receiving.
Over the last few weeks, the bird ringing group with whom I train has been ringing in our garden. However, I think that we have all found ringing in gardens a more luxury way of bird ringing, and probably not one to keep in the habit of doing! This is because we can sit in a nice warm house on sofas while eating bacon butties and yet still constantly watch the mist nets.
The ringing has gone surprisingly well with an ever widening range of species being caught, and of course, an ever expanding number of birds being ringed.
The birds that we have caught most regularly have been Tits – especially Blue, Great and Coal. This was what we were expecting but we didn’t really think that we had so many Coal Tits visiting the garden – so far we have ringed around 10 of them, and have still noticed plenty of unringed Coal Tits visiting the feeders. We also recently caught some Long-Tailed Tits which are lovely birds to have in the hand because they are so calm, and one that I held recently even started singing whilst in my hand.
The most surprising bird that we have managed to ring was a Grey Wagtail, which on a very windy day, suddenly flew into the net. This was very surprising because these birds are usually found by shallow, relatively fast-flowing rivers, and not in gardens. They are beautiful birds with their stunning yellow underparts, and the “Grey” in their name makes them sound quite dull, when they are not.
We have also caught several House Sparrows which although may not seem that interesting, as they are facing a massive decline, they have become a lot more unusual bird to catch in the net. Not only this, but when viewed up close the level of detail and variety of different shades of brown really shows.
I was also very pleased to have ringed my first Great-Spotted Woodpecker, which we caught in the garden. Usually these birds are very noisy in the net, however this male only called for a short time before calming down. It also liked to drum away at my fingers while I was holding, although, thankfully it never did so all that hard. They are extraordinarily beautiful with the incredible bright red of their plumage and the intricacy of their black and white wings.
I am very much enjoying bird ringing as it has enabled me to admire birds even more by seeing the detail and intricacy of them up close and getting to know their behaviour better. Ringing in the garden has also helped me to spend even more time staring out of the window, as I try to spot the ringed birds. This has also helped me to understand just how many different birds are visiting the garden, as I found out with the Coal Tits, having thought that there were only two or three, and now realising that there are at least ten.