Ring changes at Saltholme

Ringing group member Jo Collins pictured with a Redwing.
Ringing group member Jo Collins pictured with a Redwing.

BIRD enthusiasts flocked to a wildlife reserve for the chance to come face-to-face with their feathered friends.

All kinds of different species were carefully plucked from the air at RSPB Saltholme and ringed so experts can keep track of their numbers and movements.

Skilled members of the Tees Ringing Group, part of the British Trust for Ornithology ringing scheme, carried out the activity at the reserve near Billingham.

The ringing team normally carries out its work well away from public gaze, so it was a rare opportunity for people to get close up views of birds.

During the day, around 25 birds had rings placed on their legs with species varying from blue tit, chaffinches, starlings, red wing and greenfinches.

Dave Braithwaite, Saltholme site manager, said: “Almost everything that we know about bird migration comes from ringing.

“All the people that got to see the ringing were really interested in it and interested in learning about how we find out more about birds.

“It was a great way of letting people see behind the science and how we can understand more about bird migration and ways in which we need to look after them and conserve them.”

Each ring had a unique number that helps identify the birds in the future.

Unfortunately, strong winds prevented the team from carrying out a second day of ringing but more events are planned.

“From our point of view it was a great success and everybody is keen to do more in the future,” added Dave.

This weekend, bird enthusiasts are urged to keep their eyes peeled for all the different birds that visit their garden in the Big Garden Birdwatch.

To register and receive your free pack call the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch hotline on 0300 456 8330 or for more details log on to www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch