A high standard of ringing will mean both that birds are handled with care and respect (this helps to minimise the trauma of being trapped) and that the data collected is of such quality that it can be of use for analysis. One of the main rules to bird ringing.
On the 8th – 18th Oct 2018 A Rocha Kenya held a 10 day ringing course at Mwamba Conservation Centre in Watamu. The participants; amateur ringers and also keen birders were eager to learn about Bird Ringing.
The course started with a brief introduction of both participants and trainers. After which a classroom session with a PowerPoint presentation showed the participants some of the basics of Bird Ringing. They were then taken through a demonstration on setting up mist nets, safely handling and ringing birds by Dr. Colin Jackson (ARK’s director) and Bernard Amakobe (the organizer Ringing Scheme of East Africa).
After the nets were setup in the Mwamba nature trail, the participants were up to an early start and opened up the nets at 5:30am in the morning, the first ‘net round’ was conducted at 6:15am, which yielded a good number of birds. The most common bird ringed at Mwamba during the course was the Red-fronted tinkerbird.
The day proceeded with more one-on-one discussion on ageing and seeing the moult pattern on the birds. It was a wonderful experience for the participants to have been able to describe and ring some of the very beautiful species, like the Mangrove Kingfisher and Red-capped robin-chat, which are Intra-African migrants.
Turtle Bay Beach Club, being a great spot for weaver birds, the team proceeded to set up two mist nets and caught 60 weavers in just a few minutes. Of the birds caught six were re-traps; one of the birds dated back to June 2012 when it was first ringed (imagine, a six year old weaver! Isn’t that fascinating!). There are two common species around the hotel pond, the African Golden Weaver and Golden Palm Weaver.
A third rare treat, the Lesser masked Weaver also made it to the ringing session. This session taught the participants on the difficulty in ageing weavers(which is an on going study to see how long the weavers take to reach adulthood) but also gave them a chance to see other distinct differences in feathering and colour the birds have during their lives.
The participants had a great time at Mwamba Conservation Centre. They not only enjoyed the training, but also the warm company of the staff, the sumptuous food and of course the dazzling white sandy beach and the azure blue waters that helped them cool down after a hot and humid day at the coast.