In total nine nests were visited with professional tree climbers who lower the chicks to the ground to be processed before returning them safely to the nest.
The chicks were processed at a field station set up near the nest site. They are weighed and their wings measured before fitting BTO leg rings and wing tags if they are large enough. Note how the chicks play possum.
This year's wing tag colours are pink on the left wing which indicates the bird fledged in the north east of England and white on the right wing which is the year colour for 2020. The wing tags helps identify birds once they have left the nest. Subsequent observations help determine survival rates and where birds disperse..
The above photograph shows a brood of three. The chick in the top right hand corner was too small to fit wing tags to and was ringed only. A total of sixteen chicks were ringed and wing tagged with a further seven ringed only.
S1 is one of a brood of four chicks, the other three chicks were ringed only. Broods of four are rare , this is only the third record for the north east, the last one was in 2015.
The wing tag colours for 2019 were pink on the left wing and blue on the right wing. The pink wing tag denotes that the kite fledged in the north east of England and the blue wing tag represents the year that the bird fledged. The alpha numeric combination identifies an individual kite.
The image above shows a GPS Argos solar satellite, the type that were fitted to two of this year’s kites Dimensions: Length: 6.45 cm x Width: 2.34 cm. x Height: 1.70 cm.
Satellite tagging will enable FoRK and the RSPB to better understand the movement and habits of the kites leading to the development of a comprehensive dataset. Also, if the birds were to die, there is a possibility of finding the body and the recovered bird would be sent away for a post mortem.
The satellite tag is fitted as a back pack (see picture above), much like how we would wear a rucksack. The weight of the satellite tag is 22 grams which represents only 2.5% of the bird’s body weight.
Wing tags O0 and O1 were the two kites that were fitted with satellite tags. To find out what happened to them visit the webpage "OUR KITE HISTORIES/ KITES FLEDGED IN 2019.
O0’s satellite tag was funded by FoRK and O1's was funded by British Birds.
On the 17th June two late nests were visited but as no wing tagger was available that day only ringing took place. At the two nests visited three chicks were ringed.
In total only five nests were processed this year, eight chicks were wing tagged and eleven chicks were ringed.