Thursday, 31 March 2011

The North West Black Headed Gull Study!!

I have currently a large amount of work to do before I finish university for the easter holidays, however, for the next few hours I shall update the blog with my most recent ringing activities. More importantly, there is one that I should have published last month. This is ofcourse the new Black Headed Gull Study that is being carried out in the North West. The brains of this new project are Ciaran and Kane and it only began in March 2011. It is about time this brilliant new project is ditributed on a grander scale, so here is the original information sheet where you can read all about the project and it's aims..

In 2010 the Logan Hurst Ringing Group had a successful winter of catching adult Black Headed Gulls across the North West with over 100 caught by hand, and in the past two years we have ringed just over 800 pullus at a colony at Killington Reservoir in Cumbria. Despite this great effort coupled with the usually high recovery rate from ringing Black Headed Gulls, we have had very few recoveries of these birds away from their ringing sites. Within colonies there is usually a high mortality rate and this may be the reason why we haven't had many birds away from Killington. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to start colour marking the Gulls with darvic rings. The main aims of the project are to look into:

1 - Dispersal from natal colony {Killington Reservoir}
2 - To study the winter fidelity {At all other sites, where adults can be caught}
3 - Interchange between study sites.
4 - Longeveity
5 - To document general movements within the UK and abroad.

The project started in March 2011 and we are attempting to catch adults at their wintering sites before they disperse for the summer. The initial target is to darvic around 100 adult birds a year and 50-100 pullus at Killington, although due to the opportunistic nature of gull catching, this figure is very much variable. The colour ringing will be carried out at a number of sites across the North West and we are always on the lookout for new catching sites.

Colour Rings:-
The colour scheme will be as follows: One Dark Blue Darvic on the left leg with White lettering and a four digit code. All codes start with the number 2 followed by one letter and two numbers. E.G. 2A23. There will be an additional BTO metal ring placed on the right leg. There will also be an email address printed on the ring which is


All sightings should be sent to


All sightings will be dealt by either Kane or Ciaran.

Most importantly, a total of 6 Adult Black Headed Gulls have been caught so far, with one particular individual already giving us our first foreign movement, but more on that later!

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