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Bird ringing tells more of the life of feathered ones

Bird behaviour is of interest not only to ornithologists, but may also be fascinating to the general public.

Bird ringing is a technique whereby metal rings with information regarding the place and date of ringing are placed on the legs of birds by specially trained, qualified bird ringers.

When the bird is later retrieved one can deduct information such as its age and where it came from. To trace the movements of certain species in a town or specified area, birds are marked with colour rings.

Jaco Smith, a member of BirdLife Free State, is busy with an official project to monitor the localised movement of Karoo Thrushes in Bloemfontein. However, he needs the general public to be on the lookout.

Karoo Thrushes are very common in gardens. They are larger than sparrows, but slightly smaller than doves – the back is grey-brown with a grey breast and brownish-orange belly. The easiest way to recognise them is by their orange bill and legs.

They feed on earthworms and insects and are usually seen foraging in leaf litter. They also feed on fruit from shrubs and garden crops.

The colour rings used in this study are clearly visible and members of the public are requested to report the where­abouts of a ringed bird if they encounter one.

The following information is needed: date, time, address, name of observer, and GPS co-ordinates (if available), and the combination of colour rings on the legs.

On the right leg of the bird there will be a metal ring with one colour ring above it. The colour of this ring represents the year of ringing and must be reported. On the left leg there will be three colour rings of one of the following colours: black, white, yellow, red, blue or green. It is important to report the colours in their precise order from top to bottom.

Forward information to Smith on 073-646-7994 or smithjaco50@ gmail.com.

For further information on BirdLife Free State, contact Louise Coetzee on 082-382-1341 or at loucoetzee@ mweb.co.za.

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