Bird ringing at Ngulia is a mega event that takes place every year during the fortnight stretching from late November to early December. The Tsavo West activity brings together birders from Kenya and other parts of the world.
Ornithologists gather important information pertaining to birds` migration and reproduction patterns and the adaptation ability of migrant species. Most of the birds that are caught at Ngulia are warblers migrating to South Africa from Europe. For a fortnight birders ring at night. Most birds travel at night when most predators (including birds of prey ) take nocturnal break. Birds follow the light from heavenly bodies and birders turn lights on when it is misty to attract more birds. The mist makes the lit area to be the only bright area and birds tend to take it for natural light. Most of last year`s catch happened during the first week which was misty, its best session`s catch being 1532 birds. The second week experienced a severe mist scarcity and only 1000 birds were caught for ringing.
Last year, birders caught slightly more than 7000 birds which is significantly low compared to the previous years . It is, in fact, the smallest catch since 1995. Weather, climate change and the scanty bush in front of the lodge are to blame for this decline. It is further argued that some birds including Afro -tropical species like nightjars, shrikes, sterlings, doves and sparrow-hawks shun the bushes due to elephant dominance causing serious damage on the vegetation during the dry spell.
Ringing in progress.
One of the birds caught for ringing.
Recording birds data.