Stonechat… ringing at feeder begins

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This female Stonechat was among the first small birds to be leg-ringed this morning, near a new feeding station installed by naturalist Mike Tighe. Bird ringing is a very important study method, and licensed ringer John Swallow – of Newbury Ringing Group – aims to gain a better understanding of what’s happening with threatened farmland species such as Corn Bunting.

John reckons this bird to be a juvenile fledged 2008. The information recorded for her will go into the BTO national archives of bird data. If ever she is captured by another ringer, her age, weight and wing measurements can be compared. Data like this will provide more information about aspects such as how long these birds live, and where they range.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata – often move to different areas (many birds migrate, in fact) and if it were a little earlier in autumn she could have been on her way to southern Spain! But this Stonechat seems likely to be at Sheepdrove Organic Farm over the winter; perhaps staying to breed, or moving as far away as Scotland in spring 2009.

Winter food is crucial for farmland bird survival, which is why we have established about 10 hectares of unfarmed food supplies for them.
Find out about wildlife mix strips on our farm map.

Photo © Kevin May

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