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Biodiversity Club go Bird Ringing!

Students from St. Pius X College had the unique opportunity to take part in a bird ringing demonstration within their own school grounds. The Mid-Ulster Council Biodiversity Officer, Mark Edgar, is a licensed bird ringer and he visited the college along with two other bird ringers, Aidan Crean and Jackie Arrell, with the purpose of highlighting how important bird ringing is as a conservation strategy.

Ringing generates information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping ornithologists to understand why populations are changing. The British and Irish Ringing Scheme is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology. Over 900,000 birds are ringed in Britain and Ireland each year by over 2,600 trained ringers, most of whom are volunteers.

It is a useful research tool to learn about how long birds live and when and where they move, questions that are vital for bird conservation. Placing a lightweight, uniquely numbered metal ring around a bird’s leg provides a reliable and harmless method of identifying birds as individuals.

Bird ringers have to undergo several years of training to learn how to safely capture, handle, measure and process the birds correctly. One of St. Pius X College’s students, Nathan Hatton, is a trainee ringer and he is working towards obtaining his licence. Nathan takes part in ringing at the Mid-Ulster Council’s Constant Effort Site at Traad Point in Ballyronan.

It was a very informative and fascinating day for all the students at St. Pius X College. Rings were placed on thirty five birds with Europe’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest, among one of the species.

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