First ringing day

21 05 2012

“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium!”

-Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Usually, you don’t know how much you need something you used to do until it comes back. The last day I ringed was too much time ago and, I confess, I am addicted to ringing. It brings me the chance to study birds, to be aware of the thin relation between the biometrics and the biology. I like to check the wing formulas, to see the moult as a identification key and, of course, it’s nice to see some elusive species at a close (the closest!) range.

However, ringing here is a bit different. There is no bibliography on the majority of local birds so wing formulas and moult patterns have not been discovered yet. Everything it’s new and it’s a real challenge to apply what you knew from european serin or common chiffchaff in canary serin or Canary Islands chiffchaff. Everything modified by evolution, a force of special importance in an isolated ecosystem such as Tenerife.

My first dose of ringing in Tenerife was at Tejina ponds, a place where there are always lots of chiffchaffs. The afternoon started good. I was not alone, Laura and Raquel made the time even better, and there was a constant trickle of birds during all the afternoon long. Not too much, just to don’t get bored and have enough time to study all the individuals as they deserve. Total numbers were 8 Canary Islands chiffchaffs, 1 Sardinian warbler, 1 blackcap, 1 Blackbird and 1 Canary serin.

All the species would have their own post, but, to sum up, I can already say Canay Islands chiffchaff has a strange moult. Some individuals had moulted the inner primaries and the greater coverts were moulted in a disordered way. Only 1 bird showed breeding patch but I didn’t catch any 1st calendar year. I don’t know where are the youngs, but I guess they were born at least a month ago.

Now I’ve remembered my addiction, I won’t be able to give up. I will keep on ringing on the following weeks and I promise to share my drugs with everyone who needs them.




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