24 April 2014

Heaps of Hawfinch

In 2001, Jerry Lewis, had his first Hawfinch catch (7 birds) in the Forest of Dean. He was "well pleased" because, at the time, only 1368 Hawfinch had been ringed in the UK. His capture rate improved in the following years, and by 2007 he had ringed almost 100 birds. Understanding the birds' behaviour in the late winter/early spring, was key to his success (see Ringers' Bulletins Vol 12-1 Summer 2007 and Vol 12-6 Winter 2009).

In 2010 he was joined by two other ringers (Adrian Thomas and Rob Husbands) and seven feeding sites have been operated in the Dean/Wye Valley by the three of them since then. Around 200 birds were ringed in 2010 (see previous Demogblog post) and again in 2012 and 2013. Although catching has been relatively quiet this year, on 17 April, Jerry ringed the 1000th bird for the project - a fantastic achievement, with what is still a species rarely caught by the majority of British ringers.

This young female Hawfinch became the 1000th ringed Hawfinch for the Dean/Wye Valley project
They have also had nearly 400 recaptures, and have discovered just how mobile the birds are in the study area. They have had two birds moving outside the area, to Taunton and Dolgellau, both identified from their colour rings. In 2010 they caught the third Norwegian ringed bird for the UK and in 2012, the only Swedish ringed bird. The long standing longevity record has been exceeded by three birds, it now stands at just over 7 years, but is likely to be extended further in the near future.

Thanks to Jerry for letting us know.

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