Bird Ringing

Yesterday morning, I woke up at the early hour of 6am to go to a Bird Ringing Demonstration just down the road. This was rather exhausting for my poor body as it was the first day of the weekend, I had had a tiring week at school, and this was quite a bit earlier than most school mornings. Nevertheless, it was certainly worth it as it was a glorious morning, with the sun on full show, and still, the best was yet to come.

After a sluggish start to the day, I eventually worked my way down to the location for the morning and was met by Andy Gosler – a very experienced bird ringer.

Present in the hall where the ringing was to take place, was a couple of other ringers and around twenty odd students. I certainly did feel like the odd one out. However, soon, we were shown where the mist nets were and already, there were multiple birds suspended in them. These birds were then expertly removed by the ringers and then carried back to the hall in little bags.

Once back at the hall, the birds were taken out of the bags, before being aged, sexed and weighed. You really do sort of feel for the poor birds when they get squashed head first into a little pot on top of some weighing scales. If they already had a ring, this was recorded and noted down, if not, then a ring was carefully manoeuvred about into place on the bird’s leg. Every single piece of information was carefully noted down and recorded. Once this procedure had been completed, the birds were released by the students and I, after carefully being told how to hold the bird with two fingers around the back of the neck. The first bird that I released was a Blue Tit.

 

Blue tit ringing
My first release – a Blue Tit
Blue tit ringing 2
More Blue Tit ringing

As more and more birds were caught, the number of different species started to increase. Over the course of the next couple of hours, I released three more birds: a Blackbird, a Jay, and another Blue Tit.

Blackbird Ringing
My second release – a Blackbird
Jay ringing
My third release – a Jay
Jay ringing 2
The same Jay

My final release was a Blue Tit which unlike previous ones, turned out to be a very unhappy one (can’t blame him), and ended up giving me a little nip, and then, as Andy Gosler tried to show me how to pass the bird from one hand to another, suddenly, wriggled free and burst out from my hand!

During the course of the morning, seven different species were caught and 25 individual birds. These included: Wrens, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds, Coal Tits and jays.

Wren ringing
A beautiful little Wren

After a very exciting morning, I returned home, eager for more, but unfortunately my mother would not let me go back the next day. Still, hopefully, some time soon, I will be able to start my training with Andy Gosler for being able to learn how to ring and eventually gain my ringing licence.

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Author: Isaac the Ornithologist

Hi, I'm Isaac West, I'm 14 years old and I live in Oxford. I have a huge passion for wildlife, especially birds and I always enjoy being out and about in the wild. I also love wildlife photography and I greatly enjoy taking photos of nature. When I am older, I would love to be involved with nature.

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