25 January 2013

Tagged Red Kites

 There were at least 3 Red Kites in the area around the Tree Sparrow project, Newton Farm, Gower, yesterday. Two of them were tagged and luckily I managed a few shots clear enough to report the info back to Gwyn Roberts. As it turns out Gwyn tagged both these birds and he also informed me about some of the colour codes being used.
 The Red Kites shown have a tag on both left and right wing. These tags are coded with a letter and number. The code is the same on both tags (left and right) but the colour coding is important. Therefore an ideal photo will show both tags clear enough to be able to tell the the colour of each tag and be able to read the code on at least one - as demonstrated by the top photo of A3. The same can be achieved by a couple of shots, as with the bottom two of the same bird, where all the relevant info can be recorded.
As you will see the colour of the tags on the left wing of both birds is the same. It's Black, which means that they were both tagged in Wales. The right wing is coded with colours to represent the year of hatching. In this case WHITE indicates 2011 and RED indicates 2012. The records show that the pictured birds were tagged in West Glamorgan and RED T4 is a Gower bird tagged last year.

Feeding back the info to the relevant recorder is vitally important and it does help the people who work to conserve the species understand more about the birds. Plus it gives value to the work put into tagging the birds in the first place.

I was surprised that my photos had come out well enough to record this data and I will certainly be taking more photos of Red Kites in the future. Indeed BLACK A3 is a bird that I didn't think was wearing a tag in the first place, so it's worth taking a few shows and checking later if the opportunity presents itself.

Please report your records of Red Kite with tags in a sensible manner. A tagged bird photographed inside the breeding season should NOT be made public on websites or blogs (certainly not the location), but try instead to make contact with a trusted member of the local birding community you might know, who will be able to pass on the info to the relevant authority. It is also worth noting that it's an offence to take photographs of Schedule 1 birds during the breeding season, in their breeding territory, without a proper licence. Clearly, the welfare of Red Kites during the breeding season must not be put at risk in order to get a nice clear photo of a wing tag!

There's plenty of info about tag codes and Red Kite conservation online, found easily by google search etc.

[Please note that a very good photo of just one tag would show all the details for a Red Kite. A smaller bar found underneath the letter and number code is the same colour as the tag on the opposite wing]

1 comment:

Stephen Schroeder said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures