Participation in the Ringday 2015 organised by Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique at Genk Belgium
Members of Schlammwiss Ringing Team met early on Sunday 22 March to hit the road to Genk in Belgium for the annual Ringday organised by the Belgian Royal Institute of natural sciences.Apart from the regular bird ringing and other scientific projects, the Ringing team makes sure to attend these sort of conferences to keep in contact with other ornithologists and update itself on recent studies and research on birds and bird ringing.
We arrived around 11 am where we attended a guided tour of the Het Wik nature reserve. An interesting biotope with marshes and reed beds surrounded by mixed forests which provide excellent habitat for birds. We were given information about ringing and management on the site.
At 2pm we started with the first talk which was about the ringing results of the reserve Het Wik, it followed by a very interesting talk about why bird ringers should take measurements on birds , what the measurements means, when and how. This talk solidified our beleifs and our insistance to take regular and accurate measurements. We were given several examples of cases where the measurements makes difference in species , populations and races of particular bird taxa. Measurements also help to determine sex and age in some species. A fine example is weight of a bird in comparison to fat levels, this can show whether the bird is migrating or not.
The third talk was also of high importance for all bird ringers it concerned the moult of birds, a must know to all bird ringers and trainees that ring birds regularly. Bird moult can tell a lot, it shows different stages in a birds life so knowing how birds moult is one of the biggest tool for ringers, ornithologists and scientists. We are used to ringing passerines so hearing a talk about catching and ringing waterbirds for 10 years was interesting for us.
It concerns the reserve of Sint Agatha Rode where they use a water cage trap with food to attarct ducks , of special interests was the information about the recaptures and the data provided from this activity as there are not a lot of ringing stations that focus on ringing water birds.
The last talk was about building a bal chatri trap for birds of prey. This is a special trap that needs a special permission to operate.
Overall, this ringday was a huge success from the social aspect for our team and most importantly for the opportunity to learn and share knowledge on birds and bird ringing. Member's of Schlammwiss team have also attend last year's Ringday and a symposium for birdmonitoring at Mainz University in November 2014.
Autor: Joseph Dunlop