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)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Pied Flycatcher End of Term Report

Our Pied Flycatcher RAS spread across 19 upland woods in the Lune valley in Northern Lancashire has been completed for this season.Following last seasons good productivity we hoped for an increase in the breeding population. We were not disappointed, there was an increase of seven occupied nest boxes to 107 for the year,an all-time record. Of these 69 successfully produced young, down somewhat on last years total of 89. Predation by Weasels and Stoats was a problem especially at two sites.

However we ringed 448 nestlings and caught 70 adult females and 34 males. Males are always harder to catch at the nest than females as they do not incubate and can be only caught for a limited time  while they are feeding the young.

Our oldest bird was ringed as a nestling and caught  5 years and  362 days after ringing this year, so it was in its 6th year. It was a male and surprisingly it had only been caught twice in the last five years in both years in the same wood.The next oldest was first ringed as an adult female in 2013. It bred in the same  wood for three years then moved four km to another wood in 2017 and then 3 km to another wood this year. Another five year old female returned to breed in its first year to its native wood, but since has flitted between three woods.

I wondered if there was any difference between males  and females in returning to the same wood in successive years. I checked our retrap data for birds caught breeding as adults. Males turned out too be more site faithful with only 12% of 80    moving to other woods while 25% of the 183 females recorded, changed woods. Males usually arrive first and start defending a nest box almost straight  away to attract a female so the difference between the sexes is to be expected.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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