Colour-ringed Waxwings


For the second winter running, I have been catching and colour-ringing Waxwings in the Sheffield (South Yorkshire) area. This year, birds have been ringed with three colours on the RIGHT leg, the bottom one being orange in every case so far, and a metal BTO ring on the left leg (earlier in the winter, a number of birds were also colour-ringed on Fair Isle using the same system, but with white as the bottom colour).

Waxwing: Sheffield, S. Yorks. (photo: Stuart Sharp).

Thanks to some diligent observers in Manchester, three colour-ringed Waxwings were recently seen and photographed at Woodley Precinct, Stockport (where some may still be present), less than two weeks after being ringed in Sheffield. Remarkably, one of these individuals was then seen on more than one occasion back here in Sheffield a few days later.

Waxwing: Stockport, Greater Manchester. This shows a bird ringed in Walkley, Sheffield on 14th January 2006 and photographed at Woodley Precinct, Stockport on 28th January 2006 (photo: Tom Charles).

Any sightings of colour-ringed Waxwings are vital to the project and hugely appreciated. Even if observers are uncertain of the full colour combination, reports are still valuable — combinations can often be worked out, especially if observers manage to note the age of the bird. Observers should also keep checking both legs of any birds seen — surely at least one of the several hundred birds colour-ringed last winter (on the left leg) is out there somewhere?

Last winter, birds colour-ringed in Sheffield during January and February were still being sighted as late as May, with birds turning up in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire and Kent — so please keep looking throughout the winter and early spring.

All sightings can be reported to Stuart Sharp, and full histories of any birds seen will be provided. Any sightings of birds in the Sheffield area, colour-ringed or otherwise, are also welcome. Many thanks.

More of Tom's photos can be seen at http://www.tomcharles-photography.co.uk/.

Written by: Dr. Stuart Sharp, University of Sheffield