Thursday, 4 July 2013

St Ronan's kids are treated to osprey ringing

On Monday 1st July, the chicks from the main osprey nest were ringed. The adult birds, (white leg ring SS) and his un-ringed female are in their tenth season at the nest and this batch of three chicks brings their total number of chicks raised in ten years to 26.

Tony Lightley with pupils from St.Ronan's Primary School
Tony Lightley with pupils from St.Ronan's Primary School

The children from Class P4/5 have been working all summer term on a celebration book for the ospreys 10th anniversary and to thank them for all their hard work and enthusiasm, a special trip was organised by Forestry Commission Scotland to take the children to see the young ospreys being ringed, as they are now six weeks old and soon will be making their first flight.

The chicks were lowered to the forest  floor where Tony Lightley, (Conservation Manager for FCS) and his colleague Ronnie Graham put the leg rings on to the birds, weighed them and measured them. The birds were fitted with unique BTO rings on their right legs, which carry a serial number which identifies the bird and a large Darvic ring on their left leg which is an alpha numeric identification ring which can be read at a distance through a telescope or binoculars, so that birds can be tracked over their lifetime to study their movements and progress in the future.

The class of P4/5 children were further treated, in that Tony arranged for the leg rings to have lettering that relates to their class number. So, the chicks were given rings with the letters CL4, CL5 and the third chick CL6, as the pupils will be moving into Class 6 next term.  It will be lovely if we hear of these birds in the future, whether they return to this area to breed when they are old enough, or if we receive sightings of them wherever they may turn up.  The young chicks will make their very first migration to Africa by the end of this summer, once they have mastered flight and fishing techniques, which their skilled parents will teach them.

Ronan Ted, (the school mascot ) gets a surprise visit too!
Ronan Ted, (the school mascot ) gets a surprise visit too!

The production of the tenth anniversary book has been the joint project between Tweed Valley Osprey Project and the Friends of Kailzie Wildlife, working with the P4/5 pupils of St. Ronan’s Primary School and we received a grant from Awards 4 All to produce 10,000 copies, which will be available from August.
The school have a mascot called Ronan which is a little teddy bear, decked out in school uniform complete with school tie. Ronan Ted accompanied the children on their visit and was treated to a surprise of his own. Tony took him up to the nest for a quick look when he put the chicks back after they had been ringed!

Three ringed chicks back in the nest after ringing.
Three ringed chicks back in the nest after ringing.

The children thoroughly enjoyed their visit, it was a very special day out to see such a wonderful osprey family and a thoroughly deserved opportunity for children who have immersed themselves in this project work with so much enthusiasm.
Depute Head, Jan Lister who accompanied the children on their visit said, ‘’ Today has been a great opportunity for the children to see at first hand , the splendour of these young ospreys before they embark on their remarkable journey to West Africa. In school for the last few weeks the children have been learning about the conservation of these remarkable birds and their successful return to breed in the Scottish Borders. Today, that learning was brought to life and has given them many memories which will last a lifetime. We are very grateful for having had this opportunity”.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this immensely. After our tragedy at Dunedin, Florida, where all 3 chicks died, the last possibly from shock of being removed from the nest, it is great to hear of successful banding. Of course most of our nests seem to have survived it well, but that one incident has made me wonder it if wouldn't be better to forego banding when there's just one chick.
    Diana McCoy


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