07 January 2014

Pink-foot pie anyone?

Eating out in London can be a rich and varied experience, but it's perhaps not everyday that when enjoying your meal you find a bird ring! Now there are many apocryphal tales of rings found in pies in the history of the ringing scheme, but we've always struggled to actually find these in the archives. So when we heard of a case recently we were more than interested.

This particular story has a long history though, with the afore-mentioned pie being eaten sometime in 1955 or 1956. The ring was then passed to a young schoolboy who was interested in birds and it lay as a curiosity in a drawer until being unearthed just recently. That young schoolboy was Mike Archer, a long-standing ringer and trainer, and he took the opportunity at the recent BTO Conference to mention this ring to Gudmundur Gudmundsson, the head of the Icelandic Ringing Scheme, who was speaking at the conference. So over breakfast the recovery was reported and on his return to Iceland the ringing details soon surfaced.

ISR 12250 was in fact a Pink-footed Goose ringed as a moulting bird in July 1953 by none other than Sir Peter Scott (or Mr Peter Scott as he was then); another fascinating twist to the tale. It had presumably been shot in winter in the UK and somehow made its way to a London restaurant, where its preparation left something to be desired!

Some Pink-footed Geese not yet in pies (Tommy Holden)

By chance, sharing that same conference breakfast table was Chris du Feu, who has been working with the Icelandic Ringing Scheme in converting their recovery coding to a standard EURING format. Their system has always been to give a new code to each new finding circumstance and to date there have been 525 ways of recovering birds in Iceland. But this was their first ever record of a ring found in a pie, so became circumstance #526.

1 comment:

  1. A most amusing and interesting post, thank you for sharing.