Long Distance Blue Tit

Today I received a BTO Recovery Report for a Blue Tit, ring number AVF6109. “So what?” you might ask. Well, this is what: it is the second longest recorded movement of a Blue Tit within the UK!

It was ringed on the 31st December 2019 at Fort Augustus in Highland Scotland. We recaptured it in Ravensroost Wood last Sunday, 9th January, in amongst the rather large catch we had (f0r us) that morning. It is a movement of 642km in 740 days. To be honest, I hadn’t even picked up on the fact that it wasn’t one of our birds. With the online data entry system it will tell you the species but not flag up that it isn’t on your particular rings.

Approximate Route of Travel

The longest recorded movement is a juvenile ringed at Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, in 2002 and recovered in Breakachy in Highland in 2006, a distance of 717km.

Whenever someone wants to criticise my bird ringing they almost always pick on the, to them, unnecessary practice of ringing Blue Tits! Indeed, I know of some ringers who refuse to ring them – but that’s because they object to the ~27p per ring it costs them. Apart from the fact that, having inconvenienced them by catching them, it would be rude not to put a ring on them, it is easy to see that we still have a lot to learn about Blue Tits. Why, for example, would a resident species that normally disperses over relatively short distances suddenly fly such a long distance? I don’t have an answer but one day we might if we continue to study them.

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