Click and Play June2013

Read by Yvonne

So yesterday I told you about ringing, today I will talk about my first time ringing birds.

As soon as Paul, Anne-Isabelle and I were on Burhou it was straight to work sorting out what equipment we would need and heading out to the West Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG) colony. Paul was in charge and showing me and Anne-Isabelle what to do. You have to have a license to ring birds, so that you do not harm them. Paul has a license and Anne-Isabelle and I were lucky enough to go along and help him.

A big box of the colour rings

A big box of the colour rings

Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the West colony

Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the West colony

We set out frames within the colony and leave them for 15 to 20 minutes, while we keep well out the way. After this time we go back to see if there are any LBBGs in the frames. If there are any, Paul will carefully take them out and put them in a large bag, this helps to keep them calm. We take them a little way from the colony to let the other birds sit back on their nests.

You have to be very careful where you put your feet when walking in the LBBG colony so you don't stand on any eggs. You also have to watch your head. Sometime the birds can swoop down and hit you on the head. They do this to try and protect their eggs. All three of us got hit on the head, sometimes quite hard!

Paul carefully takes out the legs of the LBBG to put the rings on. Metal rings go on the left leg and colour rings go on the right leg. The metal rings have a code which is kept by Jersey Museum, they have a code for every bird that is ringed in the Channel Islands. The colour ring is so that Paul can tell the different LBBGs apart.

Paul putting on a colour ring. He has to glue the ring together to make sure it stays on

Paul putting on a colour ring. He has to glue the ring together to make sure it stays on

Paul and Anne-Isabelle recording the ring codes

Paul and Anne-Isabelle recording the ring codes

Paul also measures the size of the LBBG's head. This helps to tell us if the LBBG is a male or female. If the head is 112 millimeters or less it is a female. If it is 115 millimeters or above it is male. You cannot tell if it is a male or female if the head is 113 or 114 millimeters because the difference is so close.

Paul measuring the head of the GBBG

Paul measuring the head of the GBBG

In total we put rings on 20 LBBGs. 14 were male, 2 were female and we couldn't tell what the last 4 were. Paul was pleased with how many birds we were able to put rings on and said Anne-Isabelle and I did well. At 6 pm it was time to come back home to Alderney.

Leaving Burhou on Sula of Braye

Leaving Burhou on Sula of Braye

We even had a Gull follow the boat home. Why do you think the Gull would follow the boat?

We even had a Gull follow the boat home. Why do you think the Gull would follow the boat?

It was quite tiring ringing the birds all day but lots of fun. It is really exciting to be able to help, especially when you get to find out where our birds travel to.

Weather Forecast:

weather-symbolTuesday 11th June

Max 14 degrees / Min 13 degrees

Wind direction: South Westerly 14mph

Description: Light Rain

Today's Puffin Fact

A Puffin chick is called a 'Puffling'.