Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The story of a leg and a ring.

This is an update. Back in October I found a pair of long grey legs on Rona, and a few feathers. A carcass on a raptor kill, probably a peregrine. On one of the legs was a ring with a Finland contact. The guess was that it was a curlew or possibly a whimbrel but after sending in the ring details to the British Trust for Ornithology I have now received confirmation of the ring details.
The bird was indeed a curlew and it was rung as a nestling on 28 May this year (2011) in the middle of Finland.
This is the joy of ringing. After a whole summer of turning over carcasses and looking at dead birds legs this is the reminder of why we do it. To me it is fascinating to think of the (short ) life of this individual bird and what it has seen and done. The wonders of Google maps show me that the area where is it was rung is just south east of the centre of Finland, in an area of huge lakes. After fledging it has made a journey of 1877km if it flew in a straight line though  of course the distance would have been much further. What was its route ? I don't know, either west through Scandinavia and then to Scotland or down to the Baltic states and the south edge of the Baltic may be. Either way it is a big undertaking even for a bird the size of a curlew, especially as it was directed by instinct having never made the journey before. And on once it reach the island it just passed on its energy to a bird of prey like a baton by a relay runner. Such is the natural world.

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