Wing tagging and ringing
2016 wing tag colours for our north east red kites are pink on the left wing and purple on the right.
Ringing and Wing Tagging 2016
Of these, around 14 pairs went on to produce eggs. Nine were successful fledging 18young while at least five nests failed. Three of the successful nests were in County Durham,fledging 8 young, and five were in Gateshead's Derwent Valley.
At the closely monitored nest sites, 13 chicks were ringed and tagged. Two others were ringed but wings were not well enough developed for tagging. At another site the young were judged too
Chick waiting patiently to be checked over
Ten kites have so far been found illegally poisoned in the region and one shot so persecution
Ringing and wing-tagging was carried out on Wednesday 10th and Friday 12th June.
Only seven nests were available to ring and wing tag chicks, . Of the nineteen known nests which got to the incubation stage, nine subsequently failed and the three remaining were either difficult climbs or the resident did not want the chicks tagged.
The high failure rate, nearly 50% of nests that got to the incubation stage could have been caused by a combination of bad weather, predation and human disturbance. Gale-force winds in the middle of May were responsible for blowing out two chicks and a brooding female from the nest at Bradley Hall. The two chicks didn't survive but the female was returned back into the wild after rehab for an injured eye.
Only six nestlings were wing-tagged with a further six were ringed as well. Those chicks that were ringed only were either too small or too big to wing tag. Laying dates must have varied quite a bit this spring for there to be such an age spread in the chicks.
One nest had a brood of four chicks, yes four chicks, which is our biggest brood ever - amazing. Only one of the brood was ringed and tagged. The other three were ringed only. You will see from the attached photo the size/age difference between the chicks.
Two chicks waiting patiently to be tagged
One of the nests with 3 chicks
One of the nests had two chicks but these were deemed to small to wing tag so they were ringed only
A few pictures of tagged kites. The pictures show how quickly they grow. Although called chicks they are getting to full adult size
Ringing and wing tagging 2014
The team carrying out the procedures found that some chicks were further ahead than was apparent, and were too big to be disturbed.
In one nest with triplets, the youngest chick was considered too small to undergo the tagging and was ringed only.
Image courtesy of Ken Sanderson
Once on the ground, the work of fitting leg rings, with a unique number for each chick, and the two wing tags is begun by licensed Team members, working swiftly in order to avoid any distress to the birds. Notice that the chicks' heads are covered to keep them calm, and records, including the weight , are kept of each kite. Here Ken Sanderson, Chairman of FoRK, Ian Kerr and Keith Bowey, who was the Leader of the very successful Northern Kites Project, are busy carrying out the procedures.
Here H5 tag is ready for use. The left tag is pink for northern kites, with the orange band for 2014.
Comprehensive details of each chick are recorded for data purposes. FoRK accepts a degree of accountability in maintaining the records begun by the Northern Kite Project. Chick is weighed.
Once the wing tags and rings are fitted, the chick is given a final check, before being popped gently into a blue bag, ready to be taken back up to the nest by one of the Tree Climbers. .