Monday, 5 December 2011

How many Great Spotted Woodpeckers visit the hide at Gibside?

Well the answer is at least 3 different birds, but how do we know?

We were out ringing at the hide on Sunday and in one of the nets we caught 3 juvenile (birds hatched this year) Great Spotted Woodpeckers. As they didn't have rings on, we knew they were all different. Without ringing, you can look at a bird and think its the same one and how wrong you may be, but with all the food on offer, the birds must be coming in a canny distance to stock up for the winter!

Here you can see the Conservation Manager (me) getting some feedback from one of the female birds (the female doesn't have a red spot on the back of the head). The photo below shows some of the damage that the bird's the sharp beak can do to your hand as you take it out of the net - remember these things can "drill" a hole in a tree to create a nest without having to resort to aspirin!

We'll be ringing from the hide on occasional weekends throughout the winter, so if we're around then come and see what birds we have caught. Also look out for the ringing demonstrations with Richard Barnes at the Stables on Wed 21 & 28 December, he'll be there all day catching birds and letting you get close to nature.

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