Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ringing Yellowhammer on 24 Jan 2015

On Saturday 24th January 2015 I had to get up earlier than usual to go ringing.  Rather than the usual Chew Valley Ringing Station, we were doing an annual survey of Yellowhammer at Elm Farm, Burnett near Keynsham (between Bristol and Bath).  We had to be there are 7.30 am and so I was up at the unusually early time of 6.30 am.  It was really cold and so I was pretty unwilling to get up at first, but despite everything we did get to Elm Farm on time.  When we arrived, our friends Mike Bailey and Mark Dadds were already there.  We walked together to where we were going to be doing the ringing.  Mike Bailey, my trainer, had set up all tables and equipment.   We set up all the nets and people were arriving one by one, including Dean and Patrick.  I was really excited about ringing somewhere different and what I might ring.

The idea is that we can do a rough calculation of the yellowhammer population there, by going back to the same place at the same time each year. 

A Young Birder's Ringing Day

The habitat is very scrubby fields, with a main road nearby and a tiny patch of trees.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing a Yellowhammer
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

We immediately caught some birds and I extracted from the nets a Dunnock, a Reed Bunting, a Blackbird, a Linnet and two Yellowhammer.  It was a great start and I ringed loads of Yellowhammer, which were hard to age and sex.  I also ringed the Blackbird and Linnet that I extracted and lots of Robin.  As well ringing, I processed a Robin that had been ringed last year as well as a few Yellowhammer from last year.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing a Linnet
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing a Linnet
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

It was very very cold and whenever I was not ringing, my hands would get frozen cold so that it was difficult to move them.  So I would go and stand in the sun, to try and warm up.

About the writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker.    She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world.  She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people.  Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter


  1. Interesting blog, I am lucky enough to ring Yellowhammer regularly on the reserve where I volunteer. It has to be one of my favourite birds. I can't wait until they start singing again, bring on spring.

    1. Hi Stewart, that is really great. We're not that lucky and ring Yellowhammer only at this site not that far from Chew Valley Ringing Station a few times a year. Hopefully spring will be great ringing for everyone.


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