Back to blog listings

Ringing the Chicks

Posted: Thursday 28th July 2016 by foulshaw-moss-osprey-viewpoint

Osprey chick just been ringed at Foulshaw MossBlue V8 newly ringed and ready to go back to the nest

On the 30th June we got a close up view of the #FoulshawOspreys chicks as they were ringed.

It is important when ringing ospreys to get the timing right. As the chicks are fitted with adult rings they need to have developed enough so that the ring will be secure and not fall off, but they also have to be young enough that they will not try to leave the nest when approached by the specialist ringer.

On the afternoon of the 30th June we set off to ring the chicks. The first challenge was to make our way across the treacherous bog that provides the ospreys with a safe nesting site. 



Once at the nest site a professional tree surgeon climbed up to the nest and carefully lowered the chicks to the ground in a secure bag. Once the chicks were on the ground it was straight to work with the ringing trying to be as quick as possible to reduce the disturbance to the nest and to prevent causing too much stress. During the ringing Blue 35 and White YW were circling overhead and calling to the chicks. 

Adult osprey circling over the nest as a tree surgeon collects the chicks for ringing at Foulshaw MossWhen on the ground the chicks sat on the ground with their heads down. This behaviour has evolved as a defence mechanisms when the chicks are on the nest to prevent them from falling out.

Osprey Chicks sat down on the ground at Fuolshaw Moss

The siblings were fitted with two rings, one small lightweight metal ring with a unique number on their left leg, and a larger coloured plastic ring on their right leg. 

The plastic rings are numbered Blue V8 and Blue V9 allowing us to easily identify the chicks when watching the nest cam footage. The ringing was done by an experienced bird ringer with a licence to ring Schedule 1 protected species.

Osprey chick being ringed at Foulshaw Moss

As well as being ringed the chicks had a quick health check whilst on the ground. They were weighed, measure and sexed. Blue V8 is thought to be female and weighed in at 1540g and was noted as being 38 days old. Blue V9 is thought to be male and weighed 1400g and was noted as being 34 days old.

Osprey chick being weighed at Foulshaw Moss

As soon as the ringing was complete the chicks were safely returned to the nest and we made our way back across the bog away from the nest to prevent upsetting the parents anymore. 

Osprey chicks on the nest at Foulshaw Moss

As safe nest sites are one of the main limiting factors to osprey populations in the UK this whole process was completed as quickly and efficiently as possible and we make sure that no-one gets close to the nest for the rest of the time to ospreys are here. 

The Importance of Ringing

Bird ringing has been going on for over a 100 years and plays a vital role in the understandings of bird migration patterns, population size and life span.

Each ring has a unique number which provides a reliable and harmless way of identifying individuals. Through studying the changes in survival rates it helps build an understanding of the causes of declining populations. For more information on the importance of ringing visit the BTO.

Keep updated with the latest action on the nest on Twitter using #FoulshawOspreys and keep your comments and observation coming in, they're really helpful. See what's happening on osprey cam

Happy Watching 


About Grace: A student placement gaining experience in wildlife conservation alongside Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve Officer Simon Thomas.

Read foulshaw-moss-osprey-viewpoint's latest blog entries.


There are currently no comments, why not be the first.