14 April 2009

OAP Meadow Pipits at Bird Observatories

Ringing is not all about bizarre movements and odd deaths..... We can also glean a vast amount of information about survival rates in birds, which can help us to identify the causes of changes in populations (this is the crux of demography).

Meadow Pipit P459332 was ringed at Hilbre Bird Observatory in August 2001 and has been regularly caught in the 'potter traps' on the island since. It was most recently caught on 30 March 2009, and at 7 years 7 months old is now the oldest recorded Meadow Pipit in Britain & Ireland.

This is quite a good age, and beats the old record of a bird ringed at Spurn Bird Observatory in 1974 that was found dead in Spain in 1981. This quite nicely shows the very different strategies of different populations, with the Hilbre bird being a resident, and the Spurn bird merely passing through en route to southern Europe.

Thanks for John Elliott at Hilbre for pointing this out to us and supplying the photo of the bird.

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