02 November 2012

Great Spotted Woodpecker reaches a Great age

Since 1909, ringing has occurred on these islands and with all this information, a great deal has been learnt about how long wild birds live.

The BTO has compiled a longevity list that is updated annually here, which includes the details of the oldest British and Irish birds wearing a BTO ring. At 3 years 2 months, the Firecrest burns out quite quickly, to the other end of the spectrum of the 50-year old Manx Shearwater.

Longevity records are beaten relatively rarely so it's a special occasion when a ringer re-catches a record breaking bird, unless it's a recently colonised bird like a Little Egret (9 years 6 months) or Egyptian Goose (12 years 5 months).

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

The last longevity record for a Great Spotted Woodpecker was set in 1976 with a bird caught in Rochester, Kent. That has now changed with Alan Ball contacting us about a 10 year, 10 month and 30 day, female woodpecker at Bourne Wood, Lincolnshire!


The wing of a definite adult Great Spotted Woodpecker with retained primary covert

This year has also produced several old Blue Tits in Bourne Wood including one 7 years 11 months and one 7 years 10 months and another aged 7 years. Just a couple more years to break these records as well.

Thanks to Alan for letting us know and for the photographs. The online longevity pages will show his record once we have all the data in for this year.

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