The Cardiff Blackbird Project was established in April 2012 to examine the ecology, behaviour and demography of urban birds using the blackbird as a model. The blackbird has many traits that make it ideal as a model species. It is a common species, making for large data sets. It is a relatively large species, meaning it is easy to observe. Blackbirds are also widespread which allows comparison between populations in different habitats and geographical scales. Currently the study site for the project is the northern part of Pontcanna Fields in the area which includes the allotments and Cardiff Riding School.
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The project is based around developing a long-term monitoring programme, contributing to the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) ‘Retrapping Adults for Survival’ scheme, on which a number of more detailed research projects examining blackbird ecology in a suburban environment will be based. The success of these projects relies on having a large population of individually marked birds that can be followed throughout the year. Unique plastic colour rings are fitted so that individuals can be recognised through binoculars/telescope, avoiding the need to capture birds multiple times.
Close up of a female blackbird showing the metal BTO ring and her Cardiff Blackbird
Project colour ring. CJ was ringed in January 2013
If you see a colour ringed blackbird we'd love to hear about it and you find out how to submit sightings here.