26 August 2010

'Red-beaked Starling' on the wrong side of the road

We received a phone call from a member of the public in March of this year concerning a little Starling that had sadly been hit by a car in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. It apparently looked ‘a bit odd’ as it had a red beak. Luckily this bird had a ring on its leg, 7T54587 and the words Bruxelles.

Finding a Starling from Belguim is very nice of course. To date, there have been 208 Belgium ringed Starlings found in the Britain & Ireland (see table below taken from the online ringing and recovery summaries):

However, we have just heard back from the Belgium Ringing Scheme and they have informed us that this was actually a Water Rail (now the red beak makes sense)! It was an adult ringed on 15th March 2009 at Bellem, Oost-Vlaanderen, which is a distance of 388km in 365 days. As you can see from the table below, there are far fewer recoveries of this species:

Out of interest we have now had a total of 5 Water Rail recovered as a result of collision with a car to date. The origins of the birds were UK, The Netherlands, Germany and two from Belgium.

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