It’s always great to find a ringed bird. Even better is finding out about it’s history from the ringer or the BTO after you’ve reported it.
Martin Bevan (of 3 Valleys Birding blog fame) got in touch with me this week. On Sunday 21st of February, Martin had been birding at a very wet Porthcawl when he came across a colour-ringed Herring Gull.
Martin could make out the number as S:032 (white on red) and emailed the details over to me. I was able to find out that the bird was one of 250 ringed by Mike Bailey as part of a very interesting project in Somerset. Mike kindly got back in touch with the following information:
“The project began in spring (2011) and we have been colour ringing Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls as part of a study looking at the survival of rehabilitated birds at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre in East Huntspill, Somerset, England.
Most of these rehabilitated gulls are young ones (as this was when it was ringed) that are too young to fly and have been found by members of the public from colonies nesting in nearby urban areas. These are ones that could not, for one reason or another, be repatriated with their parents and have been reared at Secret World.
This bird, Red / White S:032, was released at Burnham-on Sea, Somerset 51º 13’.27’ N. 02º 59’ 21 W on 22nd July 2011.
It had already been reported 3 times prior to Martin’s sighting and it looks as though it has adopted Porthcawl as ‘home’ or maybe just a wintering area?
17 March 2014 Porthcawl. C. Edwards
28 October 2014 Porthcawl. C. Edwards
12 February 2015 reported by C. Edwards who said “I saw S:032 this afternoon. Usual place – Eastern Prom, Porthcawl – sitting on a litter bin. He still looks a bit grey `around the gills` and unfortunately had a small tangle of fishing line in or around his bill”.
21 February 2016 Porthcawl reported by Martin Bevan (so seems to be surviving OK despite the above note)
This has been a very interesting project and the wildlife sanctuary is delighted with the recoveries so far. The study clearly shows that many of the birds are surviving. This was the main point of the project and 2013 was our last year of ringing these gulls as we feel that we have achieved our objective. That is, yes, the birds do survive and actually survive very well. We will, of course, be following the fortunes of the 250 colour ringed birds with great interest, hopefully for many years to come”.
Ringing generates information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing. If you’re lucky enough to find a ringed bird please report it via the Euring website.