Thursday 2 March 2023

Windy February is Mighty Frustrating for Bird Ringing (2023)

Woolley Firs

Despite running three sessions at Woolley Firs this month and getting out to Minet the high winds prevented ringing sessions in the second half of the month. February is one of the UK's windiest months but it's still frustrating when one loses half a month of mist net ringing, nonetheless.

The first two Woolley sessions were out in the fields. Frustratingly, one of my single-panel nets was damaged by a roe deer. That net did go on to catch a Skylark but I'm not sure that was a good trade :)

Along with the lark, we ringed other farmland species including Yellowhammer, Song Thrush, and Dunnock.

Single-panel net (not the damaged one).
Tethered shelf string (see the white loop on right) set close to tops of vegetation

On the 18th we ran a public bird ringing demonstration, organised by BBOWT. With 25mph gusts blowing through the wood, we sheltered a net behind a building. We also placed spring traps, baited with mealworms, to improve our chances of having birds to show. It worked, admittedly at a very small scale; the public were great - asking interesting questions and overall the event went well.

We used to run demonstrations each March but moved to February as milder weather in March led to fewer birds being attracted to feeding sites. I can see us having to move to January as this and last February have also been very mild.


A session at the beginning of the month produced a good range of species, including Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Song Thrush and Goldfinch.

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