My introduction to this fascinating hobby started well with a 6am start and a trip to a farm down near Belper. Along with 4 other qualified ringers, we soon had 3 nets put up around the farm buildings and feeding station and the birds started to arrive. The first "net round" brought a good count of 16 birds which were brought back to the ringing table to be "processed" i.e. identified, aged, sexed and rung.
What struck me straight away as the birds were removed from the nets was the great respect and professionalism of the ringers. Each one has been ringing for many years and it was very obvious that the bird's welfare was their main priority. Well done chaps!
Back at the table each bird was removed from the bag and processed as quickly as possible. As this was my first time out I didn't ring any birds, but I did get to watch the process, read the rings of any "retraps" i.e. those birds that had been rung before, measure the wing length and then release them.
Great Tit ready for release
Three more net rounds followed and by the end of the session at approximately 11.30am, a total of 69 birds of 11 species including Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Wren, House and Tree Sparrow had been through the hands of the group. I really enjoyed my first time out and will definitely be back for more!