Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Tales of Four Travelling Blackbirds

During the winter, the UK's resident birds are joined by migrant birds arriving from the continent. You might notice the influx in your garden or where there are berry laden bushes. In fact the blackbird visiting your garden could well be a bird from the continent.

This is well illustrated by four birds from Pentrych, a small village on the outskirts of Cardiff. All four birds were ringed and later found dead by members of the public - usually having hit a window. All four show how well connected Europe's blackbirds are and it is interesting to see that they moved from urban area to urban area.

Our first bird is K994348, a first year female ringed in Zandvoort, The
Netherlands on 15th November 1998. 17 days late she was found dead in
Pentyrch on 2nd December.

RP48651 was ringed in March 1999 as a first year male. He didn't live long,
being found dead having hit a window in May of the same year. He had however
made all the way to the Swedish town of  Borlange.

CW34666 was ringed as first year male in February 2006. Just over eight months later
in November of the same year he was found dead in the Norwegian town of Egersund.  

LB34416 was an adult female ringed in Pentyrch just before Christmas in 2010.
She was found dead two years later having hit a window in the Dutch town
of Naaldwijk in November 2012

Robinson, R.A. & Clark, J.A.(2013) The Online Ringing Report: Bird ringing in Britain & Ireland in 2012 BTO, Thetford (, created on 15-August-2013)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Winter Walk

This morning saw us out on one of our regular walks of the study site which are being done in line with the BTO's Winter Thrushes Survey to further increase the value of these sessions. We were joined by Hattie, a second year zoology student at Cardiff University, who will be volunteering on the project over the next few months to help with surveys and resightings.

Today's walked picked up several blackbirds but we were only able to read the ring code on one bird, BX (see map below). He was ringed on 5th December 2012 as an adult making him at least three years old. Where BX was seen today is his usual spot and its likely it is close to where he bred this year. The vast majority of the other blackbirds seen were unringed - we need to get out more!

The results of our mornings survey. B = blackbird (the yellow B is BX),
R = redwing (we saw 8), and MT = mistle thrush

Sunday, 3 November 2013

BK - the first retrap for the Autumn!

We headed out this week with the intention of adding some more birds to the project total. It was rather a dank morning and although there were plenty of "chooks" and "chucks" from our resident birds as the sun rose, sightings and movement were virtually non-existent. In two hours we managed to catch two birds; a robin and a blackbird. Both retraps!

Our retrap blackbird was BK - a female originally caught in mid October 2012. She was at in at least her second calendar year of life when caught, making her a minimum of three years old when caught this week.

 The green triangles (you might have to enlarge the image!) so the locations of where BK has been sighted since her original capture. She was caught within this area this week. Earlier in the year she was seen feeding a fledgling so it is like she nested somewhere close to the boundary between the allotments and the riding school