Rangers on mission to track down rare seabird.
Byline: Tony Henderson Environment editor email@example.com
BIRD experts are setting up their own call centre to help them monitor an elusive species. The team of National Trust rangers and volunteers will be using ghettoblaster-style high-powered speakers at night to lure storm petrels in from the sea.
The ornithologists at The Leas in South Tyneside work into the early hours to coax the birds by transmitting their calls out to sea.
The birds are caught in mist nets before being ringed, recorded and set free again.
The data is passed to the British Trust for Ornithology and provides information in understanding the survival rates, population sizes and movement of storm petrels.
Dougie Holden, ranger for the National Trust on The Leas, said: "We construct 120 foot of fine netting on the beach and begin playing the sound of the breeding colony as soon as it gets dark, usually around 10pm at this time of year.
"When the birds fly inland they are caught in the net and trained handlers ring the birds and record their data."
"We prefer the weather conditions to be a little overcast as the nets are more visible to the birds on a clear moonlit night."
"The information we gather through bird ringing and monitoring provides a small part of a much bigger picture when it comes to understanding how a species lives and thrives. " Storm petrels spend the winter months off the coast of South West Africa and begin their long journey back to their UK breeding grounds in spring.
Birds over the age of four are usually paired up and sitting on single eggs by early June. It is thought that the birds ringed on The Leas are under the age of four and spend the summer moving up and down the east coast, feeding rather than breeding.
In 2015 National Trust rangers and the Whitburn coastal conservation group carried out an eight week survey of storm petrels. During that time they ringed 514 of the birds and two rare Leach's storm petrels.
The Whitburn coastal conservation group has been monitoring storm petrels on The Leas for 15 years.
They recorded a visit from a bird in 2015 that was originally ringed off the coast of Portugal in 2004.
They also ringed a bird in 2009 that was recorded on The Faroe Islands in 2010.
Wildlife enthusiasts are being invited along to watch the rangers and coastal volunteers in action as they catch and ring storm petrels on Saturday.
To book a place or find out more about this event log on to http:// www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events or call 0344 249 1895.
When the birds fly inland they are caught in the net and trained handlers ring the birdsDougie Holden
The hunt is on to find the mysterious and rare storm petrel off the coast
A Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Oceanites oceanicus, in flight
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|Publication:||The Journal (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Jul 14, 2017|
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