Legs can have rings

September 15th 2017

On 1st September 2017 Jane Adrian, from Lochinver, contacted the Field Club to say she had found a dying female Blackbird near Lochinver Primary School which sadly had died very shortly after being found. The unfortunate bird did however have a metal ring on its left leg, the details of which Jane had noted. It simply said ‘NHM London CL13387’.

Jane was aware that this ring meant the bird had, at some time in the past, been caught and ringed by someone as yet unknown! Jane also knew to report this find to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) via their website. Reporting her find would allow the ringer to know about the bird’s demise but also it would give Jane the history of this Blackbird.

A few days after reporting the find to the BTO Jane received this reply, which told all-

“Ringing Scheme: London Ring Number: CL13387 Species of bird: Blackbird (Turdus merula)

This bird was ringed by A R Mainwood as age at least 2 years, sex female on 18-Feb-2016 10:30:00 at Loch Culag, Lochinver, Highland, UK

OS Map reference NC0921 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 58deg 7min N -5deg -14min W accuracy 0.

It was found on 01-Sep-2017 time unknown at Lochinver, Lairg, Highland, UK

OS Map reference NC0922 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 58deg 8min N -5deg -14min W accuracy 0.

Finding condition: Dying

Finding circumstances: Road Casualty

Extra Information: –

It was found 561 days after it was ringed, 2 km from the ringing site, direction N.”

So from just a few minutes of Jane’s time we know that this female Blackbird was ringed, near the school, by Tony Mainwood who has done a few ringing sessions with Andy Summers at the primary school over the years; that it was ringed in 2016 when it was at least two years old; that it was found more than one and a half years after it had been ringed and it had stayed very local.

All useful information in understanding more about what our local birds do and where they go, or perhaps don’t go in this case. Here are a few amazing facts from the bird ringing scheme which began over 100 years ago-

Oldest bird (ringed and subsequently re-trapped) – Manx shearwater, 50 yrs 11 months

Furthest travelled – Arctic Tern from Wales to Australia 18,000 km

Strangest recovery – Osprey ring found in stomach of a crocodile in The Gambia!

It might seem a bit gruesome but, next time you find a dead bird have a look to see if there is a ring on its leg and do what Jane did – you could add to the amazing facts above!

Many thanks to Jane for getting in touch and for her photos.

D. Haines


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