Sunday, 16 January 2011

Lord of the Ringing

During the last week I had the honour of the company of experienced bird-ringer, Mike Ford, and his wife - Val. I invited Mike to visit to help me train towards my ringing certificate. Bird ringing is one of the only ways to tell how long birds live in the wild, and provides information on how far birds are moving (provided you can catch them again). There are only about 200 qualified ringers in South Africa.

Mike's first night brought 10mm of rain, which was an auspicious start. We then proceeded to catch birds. Mike's most common comment, was “Wow, that is smaller than average” for everything from Cape-Robin Chats to a Lesser Honeyguide. Lucky for him he also bagged a lifer – Protea Seedeater, which after the first capture turned out to be one of the more common species. Three and a half days of netting bagged us 130 birds. Here are a few samples of our haul:
Mike with his ringing lifer - Protea Seedeater

Close up of the Protea Seedeater

Victorin's Warbler - another good one

Amethyst Sunbird (male) - always a crowd pleaser

A fluttery Cape Bunting 

Cardinal Woodpecker, male. What a mad hairstyle.

Common Fiscal. Yes I bled.

Hairy Beetle. What do you mean I can't ring this one? It was in the net!

Juvenile Yellow Bishop. This guy was clueless - just sat in my hand calling for his mom.

Lesser Honeyguide. My, what big nostrils you have.

Long-billed Crombec. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, fantastic birds! Mike came to help me train here in Franschhoek too but we dont have anything like these beauties.... except the Amethyst Sunbird who is a garden feature here. When I get my licence, I want to come and ring with you there please!


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