10 May 2013

Colourful Garganey

The Garganey is unique among British ducks, being a summer visitor to these islands from its wintering grounds in central Africa. It is estimated that we only have around 86 pairs in Britain so obviously the ringing totals for this species are very low. Last year, only three Garganey were ringed and the previous ones to that were in 2007. Hearing about a Garganey after it's been ringed is probably not going to be a happy story for the Garganey. 

A quick look at what we know about what happens to these birds on the ringing database show:
  • one bird controlled by a ringer 106km from the ringing site
  • five re-caught by a ringer at the place of ringing between 1962-74
  • two birds caught by an owl or raptor
  • three found dead with no obvious cause of death
  • seventy one shot or 'hunted'
  • eight completely unknown i.e. alive or dead?

 The current longevity record is 14 years 6 months and this bird's life was cut short in Mali (shot).

Drake Garganey - by Russel Slack

However, this is a happy story. Garganey EX75514 was ringed last year and migrated south to southern Europe or Africa and has just returned to where it was ringed at Wheldrake Ings, North Yorkshire.

To find out more information about these birds, colour ringing is being used to increase the amount of 'alive' reports and look into their survival and site fidelity. Hopefully this bird will be sighted for many years to come.

Thanks to Craig Ralston for letting us know and for more information about this bird, click here for the Lower Derwent Valley NNR blog.

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