Monday, 24 August 2009
Whilst I was waiting for the plane carrying my friend Bridget to take off I watched this little sparrow coping with the rather blustery conditions. When I looked more closely at him I noticed that he had a ring on his leg.
I have quite often seen a pigeon with a ring on its leg, but I think these birds are mostly racing or homing pigeons that have absconded or got lost and become feral.
Before I wrote this piece I knew that quite a few birds were ringed by wildlife organisations to enable them to build up a picture of the birds life. Here in Europe there is Euring which is the the European Union for Bird Ringing. Euring promotes research needed to inform the conservation and scientific understanding of wild birds
Through the Euring website the public can use a form to report the finding of a bird marked with a ring or band.
In North America there is a similar scheme and the public can report an encounter with a marked bird wearing a band.
Ringing of birds for scientific purposes was started in 1899 by Christian Mortensen, a Danish schoolteacher and his work was soon followed in several other countries.
Looking on Wikipedia I saw this...
An Arctic Tern ringed as a chick not yet able to fly, on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast in eastern Britain in summer 1982, reached Melbourne, Australia in October 1982, a sea journey of over 22,000 km (14,000 miles) in just three months from fledging.
So if you find a bird with a ring or band on its leg you now know what to do and so do I.
I will post the answer to my can you tell what it is? from yesterdays blog post tomorrow.