Have you seen our sparrowhawks?

18 August 2012

The ecology of urban sparrowhawks has been studied within Edinburgh since the late 1980s. However, despite ongoing monitoring of a number of nests across the city, little is known about the dispersal strategies and survival rates of juvenile birds once they fledge the nest. In an attempt to improve our understanding of the behaviour of these juvenile birds, 31 sparrowhawk chicks from 7 nest sites in Edinburgh have been ringed with unique colour rings this year. You can greatly assist this research project by watching for and reporting observations of these colour ringed birds. The colour rings are white, uniquely coded with 2 vertical alphanumeric characters (i.e. letter over number or letter over letter) and are placed on the right leg. To provide ease of visibility, these codes are repeated twice around the circumference of the ring. The rings can be read on a perched bird at a distance of approximately 20m with binoculars or up to 75m using a scope. If you don?t have such equipment, taking a picture with a digital camera will often allow the ring to be read once the picture is uploaded. A small unique metal BTO ring has also been applied to the left leg of the chicks but these cannot be read unless the bird is in the hand. If you observe one of these colour ringed Sparrowhawks, please record the ring code, date and time, as well as the location. Please report all sightings, even if you were unable to determine the ring code to Alan Heavisides Email: alanheavisides@yahoo.com