As part of the Wildlife Wednesday events over the summer holidays, Richard Barns a local bird ringer has been doing bird ringing demonstrations at the Stables. Richard rings birds all over the borough, logging vital data which he then passes onto the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). They then use the data to find out important statistics about bird population sizes and their breeding and migration patterns.
Thin nets called mist nets are set up along rides in wooded areas and checked regularly to see if anything has been caught. This is Richard with an early catch as he has five birds. The bags are used to keep the birds in a safe, calm place while they can be processed. Morning is the best time for bird ringing as it's when the birds are at their most active.
Back in the court yard at the stables the birds are processed. This is where the birds get a ring gently put on their leg (the ring can move freely up and down and is just like you or me wearing a braclet) they are then weighed, their wing measured, sexed and aged. The birds colourations and feather patterns in their wings are used to tell their sex and age.
Female Great-Spotted Woodpecker in the hand
When the birds have been processed its time to release them. Sometimes the birds fly away straight away, but if your lucky they lie for a short time while they get used to their surroundings. They soon hop up though and fly away to get on with their day.
Catch Richard for one last time bird ringing at the Stables on 22nd August. You can also come along and pond dip with us on the 15th August and learn about animal tracks and signs on the 29th August.