Saturday, 16 January 2010

Brack Sparrows

Brack staff and students gathered at Andrew’s house on Wednesday for another attempt to colour-ring some of the farm’s House Sparrow population. The feeders were certainly busy and we caught nearly 60 birds. However, only 5 of them were House Sparrows which seemed to spot the nets against the snow and disappear off to feed elsewhere, until we took the nets down of course, when they quickly reappeared.

Despite the prolonged harsh weather, virtually all the birds we caught seemed to be doing well, many with fat scores of 3 and 4. The most interesting bird of the morning was a retrap Tree Sparrow, ringed as a chick in a nextbox last year (the titcam box). It is unusual to retrap Tree Sparrows anyway, but to retrap a known age bird was a real bonus. As you can see from the pics below, the bird does show many of the features we have spoken about which may indicate a young bird such as the yellowish bill base and the rather washed out facial markings and ‘dirty’ cheek pattern. We also noted that the inside of the upper mandible had pale areas and the legs had a pinkish hue. What we need now is a known adult to compare it with!

We also caught a couple of Starlings. Always good to get you scratching your head when it comes to aging…


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