Tuesday, 31 December 2013

End of Year Round Up

Well as another year draws to a close its only fitting that we say thank you and Happy New Year to those who have been helping with catching and re-sighting birds, publicising the project, or just reading the blog!

Our highlight of 2013 was reaching the 50 bird milestone! For a while it didn't seem like we'd make it! Although the birds haven't exactly been rolling in since then and we finish 2013 on a project total  of 56 birds; 29 of these being caught in 2013.

We had 99 re-captures/re-sightings of 22 individual birds in 2013 compared to a mere nine in 2012! A big thank you to Hattie Fuller, Ellie Brown and everyone who has contributed to these. We'll be looking to beat this number in 2014 so keep your eyes peeled and don't forget to tell us!
As you can see from the graph below there is a lot of variation in the number of times different individuals have been re-sighted. This will be in part down to the individual behaviour - its no surprise that A4 tops the chart as he is the most approachable bird we've ringed. Other highly visible birds were often on the avenue (e.g BX and BK) or easily recognised such as B6.

During 2014 we'll keep you up to date with the project's progress and news. 2014 will be on us in a matter of hours and the start of the breeding season hot on its heals. What will 2014 hold? Hopefully lots of blackbirds!

Happy New Year from the Cardiff Blackbird Project team!

We couldn't have a post without a picture of a blackbird could we?! Here is one
from the archives - our most approachable blackbird, A4

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Ringing in the changes

The number of blackbirds is building up nicely in the study site, particularly around the paddocks. So this is where we headed on Friday for the third catch of the winter. We were hoping for at least one new blackbird as the last two outings have drawn blanks.
We caught three males in quick succession while putting up the nets and while these were being processed we caught a further two birds! Our project total now stands at 55 and we'll hopefully increase this total over the coming weeks. The session's "by catch" was a surprise too, containing as it did two young magpies. Despite being a common bird, only 30 magpies were ring in Wales in 2012 and only 6 of these were caught in Glamorgan.

Three in a row! These males were the first of five new birds added to the
project. These three were in at least their second calendar year while the fourth
was one of this year's young. Our fifth bird was a female.
Friday's session was also the start of a new colour ringing scheme. We have been having some trouble with obtaining field sightings of the coded rings and so have begun using a conventional plain colour rings. Over the coming months we will be comparing which of the two techniques is most effective. Should you see blackbirds with either ring type then please let us know!

One of Friday's blackbirds ringed with conventional plain colour rings.
Hopefully these rings will increase the ease with which birds are resighted in
the field. We will keep you posted on the comparison.
A big thank you to Hattie, Ellie, Laura and Chrissie for helping with the session.