14 April 2014

Spring encounters of the bird kind

You will be glad to hear that we are now reaching the 'tail end' of the auk wreck that has effected thousands of Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills up and down the country (posted previously). We are still however receiving reports from the various ringing schemes involved, showing the great distances these birds can travel during the winter.

Collared Doves have been known to make large movements occasionally and one such bird travelled south from Fair Isle, Shetland all the way to Halkirk, Caithness (238km) to end up being killed by a cat on the 06 April. Reports of interesting movements of Chaffinch include two Norwegian ringed birds, one killed by a cat in Powys and one to be found fresh dead in Wiltshire both found in mid March. At a very similar time a BTO ringed Chaffinch from Lincolnshire met his end in Norway after not seeing a window in time.

Chaffinch - John Harding

Windows were also responsible for 2 BTO ringed Dunnock recoveries of note. One was the 11th record to Norway (again ringed in Lincolnshire - 1721km) and the other was the 2nd ever Dunnock to be found in Denmark (ringed in Suffolk - 744km).

The BTO migration blog and BirdTrack is currently showing a good influx of spring migrants at the moment with species like Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Swallow, and with this comes encounters with ringed migrants. A Sussex ringed Chiffchaff for example (ringed in September 2013) met its end on its return migration when it was found dead in someone's kitchen in Spain (928km).

BirdTrack reporting rate of Chiffchaff

We have also received our first report of a returning Osprey, to the Glaslyn Osprey Centre near Porthmadog, Gwynedd. This bird was identified by a video camera placed near the nest during the winter. It was originally ringed as a chick at Rutland Water in 1998 in a brood of three.

A window was the likely cause of a Lincolnshire ringed Oystercatcher death in Norway (733km) but more positively, several Irish ringed Oystercatchers have been seen in their breeding grounds in Iceland (1519km).

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