On 27th March, a group of volunteers certified by the British Trust for Ornithology returned to Millennium Wood to carry out mist netting. Mist netting is an important tool for monitoring species diversity, relative abundance and population size and is harmless to birds when carried out by trained professionals.
The group processed 19 birds including a couple of great and blue tits they had met before. The most exciting find was 5 greenfinches – 3 males and 2 females, which hadn’t previously been seen or heard in the wood.
There were a dozen or so jays flying around the wood. The volunteers managed to catch one of these feisty birds in their net.
The group also ringed a male blackbird with a colour ring for a project being run by Birmingham University by PhD student Gregory Eckhartt looking at movement and migration patterns in urban blackbirds.
This male blackbird was colour ringed with a black ring bearing the letters ‘VL’ in white. If anyone spots it on their travels, please let us know so it can be reported to the project. Alternatively, Twitter users can get in touch with Gregory via @gregoryeckhartt or the West Midlands Ringing Group via @ringerswm. Any data will be gratefully received.
A handful of long-tailed tits were ringed as well as a dunnock and a couple of robins.
The final bird processed was a redwing which had a substantial amount of fat laid down and we suspect it will be making its way north to breeding grounds in Northern Europe over the next few days.
As winter visitors disappear, summer warblers take their place. There were at least 3 Chiffchaff heard singing in the wood (although none found their way into a net).
The volunteers thanked everyone for allowing them access to Millennium Wood (they managed to say hello to a couple of dog walkers as well as some small children who were thrilled to see the birds in the hand). They will return later in the year.
Take a look at the following images to see some of the fantastic birds that were recorded during the visit: