Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cropwell ringing with traps

Wind blowing a gale? Drizzling? Got to be at the office in half an hour? Not a problem- just set some garden traps!

Since receiving my C permit I've had the opportunity to try out some of the traps I have constructed and acquired recently. These include a drop-door, pull-string seed feeder trap, a handful of small potter traps, some medium sized spring traps and a large duck trap (from Wheatear.biz).




I must say, it has been fun to find different ways of catching birds without mist-netting; not only have I got a deeper understanding of bird behaviour from watching them around the traps, but I've also developed some nifty commando-style rolls and crawling manoeuvres (a stylish method of making your way to the pull-string at the kitchen window, without spooking the birds!).

I would definitely recommend using traps in a garden environment, especially if you are a new C ringer. I've enjoyed taking my time with each bird and not having to worry about a net loading up with pesky Blue Tits or Starlings! Another great thing is, if there appears to be a bird in the trap when I come home from work I can catch it and ring it there and then, on an ad-hoc basis. It's really flexible.

My first bird was a Starling (which was also a ringing tick!) and I've managed to catch more since and examine the (sometimes) tricky aging and sexing criteria. Here are some images that might help readers of the blog see how the colour of Starling eyes and lower mandible can give an indication of sex. I was hoping to post something on here about tail shape and markings, but haven't had any really extreme examples of any age group.


 adult male Starling (MIB)

adult female Starling (MIB) (and below)


It has also been great this week to ring a female Blackbird with the beginnings of a brood patch and a few days later, find her sitting deep in my hedge, on a nest with three beautiful eggs beneath her.

It's also cool to still have the Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings coming to the garden this far into March as well, they usually only visit during the grip of winter.


male Reed Bunting (MIB)

So if you fancy making some traps, check out this book and get involved! It is really satisfying.
http://www.nhbs.com/bird_trapping_and_bird_banding_tefno_4213.html

I also want to say thanks to everyone in the group who has helped me get this far. The learning continues...

Ian B

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