Despite severe weather warnings for high winds and heavy showers, 16 members still felt it was worth the risk, and were not disappointed. In the warm and dry purpose-built hut, head bird ringer, Mike Bailey, gave us an informative and interesting talk about the history of bird ringing and recent advancements.
Bird ringing started over 100 years ago, by Danish teacher Hans Christian Mortensen, using hand-made Aluminium strips, his first trials being with starlings. In 1909, 2 schemes started in the UK, initially using nestlings and birds caught in duck decoys, so not many birds were ringed. In 1956, after the introduction of mist-net trapping, numbers ringed increased exponentially, so that now over 1 million birds are ringed annually in the UK!
Bird ringing has revealed huge amounts about bird migration. For example, nobody knew where Manx Shearwaters went from the UK in winter. Numerous ringed birds (alive and dead) were found on the East coast of S. America! In a more recent Chinese study, numerous swifts were fitted with GPS trackers, which showed that they overwintered in South Africa, having flown W then S over much of Asia & Africa, many thousands of miles!