Bird Ringing in Over Village 2010
The main reason I wanted to start bird ringing in Over where I live is to contribute to the scientific data held by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) on bird populations, breeding success, and migration.
My aim is to establish regular ringing sites around the village, and this is something that everyone in the village can become involved in. However, it is important to note that it is illegal to catch wild birds for ringing purposes without a permit issued by the BTO.
I have a number of different projects that I would like to set up in the village, as follows:
Nest-box recording and pulli (chick) ringing.
One of the most important ways we can contribute to our knowledge of bird breeding behaviour is to monitor nests and nest boxes. The BTO run the Nest Recording Scheme, which involves people in making a number of visits to birds nests during the breeding season to record what is happening. Obviously this needs to be done with great care.
I have a few nest boxes in my own garden, and already submit data on the breeding behaviour of the birds present to the BTO. In 2010 I would like to extend this to include other bird nest boxes within the village. I am sure lots of people will have nest boxes in their gardens, and may be interested in my paying a couple of visits during the summer to monitor what is happening in their nest boxes, and also to ring any chicks. Birds ringed as chicks provide very valuable data, as the exact age of the individual bird is know, as well as where it hatched.
House Sparrow Colour Ringing.
The common House Sparrow is in decline in Britain, although there are still good numbers present in Over and the surrounding villages.
I am interested in building up a database of house sparrow breeding successes, movements, etc. throughout Over, and to do this would like to colour-ring birds as chicks. This involves placing the normal BTO metal ring onto the bird, but also putting small, coloured, plastic rings onto the legs of each bird too. In order to study bird movements using only a metal ring, you have to re-catch the bird to see what the ring number is, whereas by placing colour-rings on birds in combinations unique to the individual bird, it is possible to monitor movements just by sighting birds and making a note of the colour ring combinations. Through this scheme (which has yet to be approved by the BTO) all villagers will be able to add to the database by making notes of the house sparrows seen in the village, and the colour ring combinations of each individual.
I also intend to continue catching adult birds using mist-nets. Initially this will be done only in my own garden, but ideally I would like to do this at a number of sites around the village. There are a number of old orchards that would be ideal for mist-netting, and some of the larger gardens would also be useful for this.