Banding Baby Birds

5 07 2013

Today, I joined an Englishman named Pete Potts and other volunteers from the Farlington Ringing Group to band baby godwits. When a bird is caught, a ring of suitable size (made of aluminium) is attached to the bird’s leg, and has on it a unique number, as well as a contact address. The bird is weighed and measured, a few feathers plucked for stable isotopes and DNA, and then released. The rings are very light, and are designed to have no adverse effect on the birds – indeed, the whole basis of using ringing to gain data about the birds is that ringed birds should behave in all respects in the same way as the unringed population. The birds so tagged can then be identified when they are re-trapped, or found dead, later. Ringing projects can then determine patterns of bird movements for large populations.

My very first chick and my friend Hlynur!

My very first Godwit chick and my friend Hlynur!

The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird. It is a member of the Limosa genus, the godwits. There are three subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest in breeding plumage and dull grey-brown winter coloration, and distinctive black and white wingbar at all times.The Black-tailed Godwit is a large wader with long bill (7.5 to 12 cm long), neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black.

Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed Godwits spend winter in areas as diverse as the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, western Europe and west Africa.

Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed Godwits spend winter in areas as diverse as the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, western Europe and west Africa.

 

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