NLRG was formed in 1957 to help in the study of birds in the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society area. There are currently 12 active ringers. Species currently being studied include: Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Sand Martin, Twite, Goosander, Oystercatcher and Grey Wagtail. Migration has been studied for 28 years at Heysham. We welcome anyone who wants to observe, help or perhaps wish to become a ringer. Photo: A Heysham-ringed Twite on the Mull of Kintyre (thanks to Eddie Maguire)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Paired for Life

Always a thrill to see your first adult bird of the spring carrying food to its nest especially when its a species which you study intensively. This morning I saw a pair of Bearded Tits with beaks full of insects going into one of my reed wigwam nest boxes. I managed to get the colour ring combinations of both birds, then armed with my disturbance licence visited the nest box briefly to find six young ca 5 days old. Back home I searched my data base for details of these two birds.
They were ringed together on 6th August 2009 ca 150 metres from where they are nesting. Both were in juvenile plumage. Later in 2009 they were seen or re trapped together on three occasions. During 2010 they were recorded together on no less than 16 occasions mainly visiting the grit trays and today they were still together rearing a brood.
Bearded Tits are well known for forming pairs while still in juvenile plumage but this sighting along with several similar ones over the years show that these early liaisons can form lasting bonds. I had one pair that bred together and remained together throughout the seasons for three consecutive years.

John Wilson

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