Monday, 14 April 2014

Out of site...

Recently we were told of a blackbird "with something on it's legs" near some houses south of the study site. So while the trail was still hot, we headed out and soon spotted a familiar site; that of a blackbird with yellow ring! A bit of stalking and lots of photos later we managed an image that revealed the code 'BD' - our first out of site movement! Although we should come clean straight away and say that it was only about 200m out of the study site boundary... does it still count?!

BD was originally ringed in December 2012 when he was in at least
his second calendar year. This is the 7th time he has been resighted,
the last being in February of this year, c.400m from his recent location.
The cluster of purple dots show where is usually spotted. The red denoting his
most recent location. He seems to have set up a territory here as he was seen in the 
company of an unringed female and defending his patch from other males.
This might not be as far as some urban ringed blackbirds can move but it does raise a question about territory. BD was seen in his "normal" location mostly in January and February 2013 but the spot was taken by an un-ringed male during the following breeding season. Was BD ousted? Or perhaps there is another explanation. Some resident blackbirds are known to have have a summer and winter territory;could this be the case here? If it is the case then BD could learn a thing or two from this blackbird. 

Of course for the Cardiff Blackbird Team there is a negative to this sighting; its justified our habit of checking the legs of every blackbird we see!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Good morning Mrs Blackbird

We had our first successful catching session of 2014 this morning - a new female, Red over Yellow (R/Y) was caught at the eastern most end of the study site. There were plenty of blackbirds in the area but none were ringed. Despite a lot of blackbird activity around the nets we only caught one. We did, however, catch a mallard! The largest bird we have caught on the project!

R/Y is at least in her second calendar year of life

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Signs of spring

Given the amount of bird song at the study site today it is clear that spring has finally sprung! Blackbirds abound and several were seen in territorial disputes. Three birds with rings were seen but we only managed to read one code.

BN was ringed in December 2013, the same year she hatched, and has not been seen since July last year. Not far from BN was a male with a beak full of worms so we know breeding is underway in the allotments! Whether this was BN's mate or not was unclear. We had hoped to follow the male back to his nests but he steadfastly refused to move until we were too far away to see where he was going!

BN refusing to look at the camera!