Some Results From Bird Ringing  in N E Caithness
Hugh Clark

Caithness Community Web Site   Bird Ringing In NE Caithness Index Nature & Environment


Nestlings or young birds can be caught and ringed before they are capable of flight. One can, for example, search for Lapwing chicks, as they run around the rough grassy fields, or an energetic ringer might attempt to reach seabird chicks by climbing down a cliff face; a ringer with plenty of time to spare might want to search in suitable habitats for the nests of woodland birds. It is soon appreciated that it is no easy task to find or get at nestlings or chicks before they can fly.

In the six year period, 1981-1986, I and my associates ringed 3,771 chicks and 9,756 fully grown birds in N.E. Caithness.

In the early days of bird ringing, all fully grown-birds were caught by traps of some description. Most were caught in the huge Heligoland traps which ringers have built at most coastal bird observatories. Nowadays, however, all traps are overshadowed by the use of "mist-nets", which were invented in Japan and introduced to Britain in 1956. The nets are made of very fine black thread (nylon or terylene) and come in various lengths from 6Oft. They are hung vertically (to about 1Oft. high) between two bamboo poles. When placed in front of bushes or shrubs these nets are invisible to birds, and it is easy to understand why the number of birds ringed annually increased dramatically after 1956. Needless to say, ringers require a licence from the N.C C. to own and use mist nets which can only be purchased from the B.T.O. by holders of B.T.O. ringing permits.