Today Filip will explain the rest of the process for tagging the 12 Gannets for the T.A.G. project this year.
Climbing into the colony we had to be very careful. The rocks are steep and slippery with guano, sea water and weed and there is a long fall into the water below. Younger birds who aren’t as experienced nest quite low down on the rocks, on the edge of the colony, so we had to be careful where we put our feet!
Once we reached a certain height there were birds all around us. Because older birds return to the colony in early spring, and the younger birds arrive later there were chicks at all stages of development, from the featherless newly hatched chicks, small enough to hold in one hand, to huge balls of white down.
To attach the tags to the birds we first needed to catch them. By covering their heads and stroking their necks we kept them calm while the tags were attached to the tail feathers. Choosing which feathers to mount the tag is very important. All birds lose all their feathers each year, and growing them back can take some time. It was important that the tags went on full grown feathers so they wouldn’t interrupt the growth process.