By Ruth D’Alessandro, The Wildlife Gardener The Wildlife Gardener is always sorry to see dead birds by the side of the road. Today, a still-warm cock blackbird lay lifeless in the gutter outside our local primary school. Why do blackbirds do that death wish dipping swoop across roads? In the breeding season they seem to take far more risks. I’m sure Darwin would have something to say about it. How many blackbirds have I just managed to miss while driving? Obviously this poor chap swooped once too often.I picked the bird up (has she STILL not heeded the spectre of bird ‘flu? – Ed) to put it in the hedgerow where it could quietly return itself to the soil. And then I noticed it had a silver ring on its leg.
Thanks to articles written by a bird enthusiast in our parish magazine, I was quickly able to find out how to report a ringed bird. Contact:
Ringing Unit British Trust for Ornithology The Nunnery Thetford Norfolk IP24 2PU Tel: 01842 750050
Or visit www.ring.ac where you can put details into an online form. You need to give the full ring number (send the ring off if the bird is dead), where the bird was found with a grid reference if possible, and when. My unfortunate blackbird bore the ring:
BRIT MUSEUM LONDON SW7 CW 59149
The BTO will also want to know how the bird died and if so how decomposed it was. Of course, living birds with rings can be reported, but it’s much more difficult to see the number if they are uninjured. Give the BTO your details and they should contact you in due course to tell you where the bird was ringed. I’m betting that my blackbird was a local resident, especially as there has been some recent bird ringing activity in the area. I’m not sure that blackbirds range particularly far, but I am prepared to be proved wrong if this one was ringed in Inverness.