How long do birds live? is a question we are often asked by members of the public at ringing demonstrations. I was asked this exact question whilst out ringing yesterday with Sorby Breck Ringing Group at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Avenue Washlands reserve. The bird in question was a Blue Tit that we'd just extracted from one of the nets and was found to be wearing a ring already.
David checked the ring number when he got home, and emailed the following details. The bird had originally been ringed at The Avenue on 28th March 2010 and aged as a 5M i.e. it had been born in 2009. It had only been re trapped once before today, on 27th February 2011, also at The Avenue. This means that this bird is now 7 years old (in its 8th calendar year), which is a pretty impressive age for such a small bird. A quick check of the BTO's Longevity Records , shows that the oldest Blue Tit on record was 10 years, 3 months and 10 days old when it was last recorded, so "our" bird still has a few years to go!
Other birds caught during yesterday's session were (new/retrap): Wren 0/1, Dunnock 2/1, Robin 3/0, Blackbird 5/0, Song Thrush 0/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 0/4, Great Tit 3/1, Chaffinch 2/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Bullfinch 4/3, Yellowhammer 1/0, Reed Bunting 11/1.