A few weekends ago, Jenni and Robert from the AWT were joined by a small team from the Channel Island ringers, led by Chris Mourant. The main focus was to catch and ring our smallest breeding seabird on Burhou – the Storm Petrel. These tiny birds breed in the crevices of rocks and burrows in the ground and are about the size of a house sparrows!
The birds were caught using fine mesh nets called mist nets and were carefully extracted before being taken to the ringing station to be measured and ringed. Using the ringing data we can make estimates of how many breeding pairs we have on the island as all the birds we caught were mature adults who were coming back off the sea to feed their chicks. Up until a few years ago there was only thought to be 20+ breeding pairs of Storm Petrels on Burhou, recent calculations estimate there to be more than 1000! During the weekend, we caught and ringed over 400 new birds and over 100 re-traps (birds that already had a ring on). It was a truly unforgettable experience for everyone involved. A huge thanks must go to the Channel Island ringers for coming over to Alderney and to the Channel Island Ringing Scheme for supporting us with the ringing process.