I am a fully licensed bird ringer with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in the UK. Concerned that the decline in breeding population of Starlings Sturnus vulgarisover recent years has resulted in them becoming RED LISTED with highest conservation priority, I was keen to assist in monitoring them.
The small part I play is to catch Starlings, safely in mist nets, in my Norfolk garden and apply uniquely numbered rings. The metal BTO is fitted on the right leg whilst a colour ring (currently yellow with 3 black digits) is left. The aim of the colour ring is that people all over can record sightings of them in their gardens, parks, roadsides, schools etc easily using binoculars or camera, and send details of their sightings to the BTO who keep a database of all ringed birds. The letters/numbers on the colour ring are mischief easily to see than that of the metal ring! This allows us to get a picture of the number of breeding adult Starlings are returning to the same garden, how many juveniles are produced and their longevity. The BTO scientists produce reports on this type of data and then work on ways to implement action.
I am not employed as a conservationist, I actually work full time in the NHS, so all my time is voluntary and bird ringing equipment (i.e. metal rings, colour rings, nets) is self funded. These items are not cheap as a quick Google search will show!
I have been monitoring and ringing Starlings for the past 6yrs and I hope to continue. However with rising ring prices (but a pay freeze) I am beginning to struggle to continue. Any financial support would be hugely appreciated but if you can't afford anything then please keep an eye out for my colour ringed Starlings and report sightings to the BTO. All help is welcome. Starlings are great birds and I'd hate for them all to disappear. Their murmurations are stunning and would be sadly missed.
For further information on Bird Ringing and Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) see BTO website www.bto.org
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