14 October 2010

Longevity gets even longer

Dave Okill writes:

"During the summer three ringed birds have turned up in Shetland that have beaten the age records in the BTO files for the longest living individual of that species.

The first was a Storm Petrel. Originally ringed on Fair Isle on 29 July 1974, it was then recaught on Mousa 26 May 2010, making it just short of 36 years between ringing and being found again. As Storm Petrels don't usually come back to the North Atlantic until they are 2 years old, then it's likely this bird was at least 38 years old. The previous oldest recorded Stormie was 31 years and 11 months old so this record has increased the longevity considerably.

The next was a Whimbrel on Fetlar that was posted previously here.


The third was a Red-throated Diver. A bird that I'd ringed as a chick on Unst in 1986 was found breeding a couple of kilometres from the site where it fledged, now 24 years old. Male Red-throated Divers starting to breed usually return to a site close to where they were hatched but females disperse more widely.

As all of these birds are still going, it could be that if we hear of them again they will extend the records further."

Thanks to Dave Okill for letting us know and to Malcolm Smith for the photo.

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