Posts Tagged ‘Birds’
Week 3 of the Diploma. We spent time with some ‘Twitchers’ monitoring the bird life down at the Northmoor Trust ponds. I’m not sure who was more impressed with the work Mike and his team did, my impression of ‘twitching’ has changed as a result of spending some time with passionate twitchers! An ex RAF pilot, his passion is birds – whatever you want to know and he’s the man to ask!
And his passion for the subject shone though as he explained why it is important for bird surveys to be done. With approx. 150 native breeds of birds in the UK, another 150 breeds pass through at different times of the year. Knowing the movement of both local and foreign birds gives and indication of climate change, feeding patterns and migration trends both in the UK and abroad.
The process is fairly straight forward. A bird is caught in a net similar in style to a badminton net, but made of very fine material. Every 20 – 30 mins Mike and his team of volunteers checked the 5 sets of nets in the woods. After carefully unpinning them from the nets and carrying them back to their portable lab.
In the lab the birds will be tagged with a small leg ring, if they haven’t got one already. Their weight, wing span and eye colour will be measured and recorded. The whole process takes about 5 minutes per bird. All the information is sent to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
Only qualified volunteers can carry out the ringing and monitoring of the birds and Mike has been through various BTO courses to be in a position to do this work with his volunteer colleagues.
Overall a fascinating morning for the whole group.