Routinely we catch birds that are already ringed, but the vast majority of these are birds ringed by us on a previous occasion here in Abernyte. But sometimes we get a bird that is from elsewhere, and these are particularly interesting. We have recently had a Coal Tit and a Chaffinch that are away from home. Normally neither of these birds would travel very far from home, but occasional a few birds do. In the case of the Coal Tit, it had been ringed at Barry Mill at Carnoustie, a distance of over 17 miles as the Coal Tit flies, and that is if it was flying in a straight line! The Chaffinch has not travelled so far, only just over 7 miles! It was ringed in the University of Dundee Botanic Garden off Riverside Drive.
When you think that we have had a Chaffinch that was first ringed in the garden, nearly 3 years ago and a Blue Tit also about 3 years ago (in bird terms these are ready to draw their pensions!) - both have probably not been very far away in between - then these are the birds that are behaving like the majority. It is the occasional birds that for some reason move to pastures new.
Not all bird species are so sedentary, I posted accounts of two Siskins last year. One had gone to Norway and one to Inverness - but that is what Siskins do. The Bramblings that we have as winter visitors, behave in the same way, and when spring comes they fly back across the North sea to breed.
Most of the time a ring recovery it’s by catching a live bird in a net, recording the ring number and releasing it to fly away. Some birds we have caught on many occasions. Sometimes when a dead bird is found, you spot that has been ringed. That happened on Friday when a Long-eared Owl was found dead by Irene. The bird had been ringed on 14.11.17, not very far away at Tullach Ard, just over the hill. Interestingly not many Long-eared Owls are ringed each year, so finding a ringed bird is not very common, and in 2017 only 82 were ringed!