04 February 2014

Predictable migration - not!

The great Chris Mead described bird migration as "a regular movement between areas inhabited at different times of the year", but perhaps a more complete description might be "movements occurring at predictable times of each year, between breeding and one or more non-breeding areas, and therefore involving flights in predictable directions." But life isn't always quite so simple and there will always be birds that break (or rewrite) the rules. Lesser Redpolls are being caught with increasing frequency at feeders and some of the movements they make are... interesting!

Two birds ringed within a couple of days of each other in early April 2013 in New Clipstone, Nottinghamshire (in red below), were then recaught by ringers in early November, but at rather opposite compass points. One made it a short way south to Stanford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, whilst another made a rather lengthier trip up to Barra, Western Isles (both in blue below).

View Unusual migrations in a larger map

Whilst this is a little unusual, Stanford Reservoir seems to be the centre of such unusual movements, with two birds ringed there on 6th October 2012 making equally diverse movements. Both of these birds were recaught on 27th April 2013, but one in Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway, and the other in Brandon, Suffolk (both shown in green above).

So answers on a postcard please as to what these birds are up to!

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