Every morning we wake up to the beautiful melodious bird sounds but seldom do we appreciate the diversity amongst them. Birds contribute a lot to the survival of humans and the environmental ecosystem through pollination and dispersion thus the need for their conservation.
Conservation of birds requires understanding of bird ecology and population dynamics. Bird ringing is a tool that is used by ornithologists to provide a wide range of data which includes information on the movement, survival rate and annual breeding success.
Once in every two months, A Rocha Kenya carries out a bird ringing exercise in conjunction with The National Museums of Kenya. This is in a bid to appreciate and understand the role played by birds in our ecosystem and the need to stimulate and develop interest in bird research and conservation careers.
The exercise is aimed at identifying different bird species present at A Rocha Kenya’s forested property: Karara. Both resident and migrant birds are studied, their demographics, morphology and ecological characteristics. The demographic information includes identifying the age, weight and sex of the bird, whereas morphology observes the wings, spots, eye color, tarsus and moult and ecology studies the location of the bird (intact forest or bush land).
Birds are active during morning to mid-morning hours and can be categorized into resident and migrant birds. Resident birds are different from migrants as they are more territorial with the same feeding and breeding grounds fly over short distance due to minimal physical strength and are able to adapt to change food preference depending on its availability.
Migrant birds are categorized into; Palearctic (Eurasia-Africa-Eurasia), Madagascar (Madagascar sub-continent- African- Madagascar sub-continent), Intra-African (within African continent) and altitudinal migrant (Low to high elevation and vice versa).
Brood patch (1-3): brood patch codes show the nesting status of different bird which dictates the amount of time that should be taken while ringing it. Code three represents scaly brood patch which indicates most crucial stage of nesting.
Last Saturday, over thirty different bird species were identified at Karara of which some were recaptures. The most common birds captured included; collared sunbird, variable sunbird, yellow whiskered green bull, Ruppell’s robin chat, spectacled weaver, white starred robin and grey backed camaroptera. The Marsh wabler which is a migrant was also captured.