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Mike's Blog - Day 271

A fitting picture to end the owl box pictures, 3 owl chicks from one of the box locations just south of the garden.

This is Prof Willis and his team who have a licence to check occupied owl next boxes. They have removed the chicks and fitted them with leg rings. This helps monitor the birds and is standard practice. The more common way to ring birds is, again under licence, to put up mist nets. These are fine almost invisible nets which are put up just before daybreak. The caught up birds are then weighed, measured and checked. If they have a ring that information is recorded, and if they don’t have a ring one is fitted. Each bird has a particular size of ring and its fitted with a special pair of pliers. Its skilled and delicate work. The information recorded by the 1000’s of volunteers who do this trapping goes to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and forms part of the national record.

Another of Steve’s colleagues has been doing some mist netting in the garden recently. I’ll send some of those pictures soon.

Here is a link to the BTO data:

Data | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

To become a bird ringer it takes at least a year of training. There is more information on ringing and a picture of a bird having its wing measured here:

Bird Ringing Scheme | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

I have seen ringing in progress and it's surprising how calm the birds are.