Ringing – research objective

Our objective with our bird ringing / bird banding research is to monitor long-term changes in timing of breeding and moult, in urban vs rural environments.

The bird ringing / bird banding activities will provide data for research conducted by the Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI).

Timing of breeding in birds varies annually, usually according to timing of rainfall. Moult of primary feathers usually occurs after breeding in many passerines. As climate becomes more variable, this could affect timing of breeding and moult, and thus affect breeding success and other life processes. Monitoring timing of breeding directly (searching for nests) is very time consuming. A more efficient way is to have a regular bird ringing / bird banding program and check females for brood patches, and all birds for primary moult score.

The BDI is establishing a network of bird ringing / bird banding sites on farms around greater Cape Town and in the Savanna Biome in northern South Africa. Regular bird ringing / bird banding will target especially wetland passerines, as these are easy to catch in large numbers, providing robust sample sizes. These bird ringing / bird banding sessions provide fieldwork (and training) opportunities, as well as research opportunities, while supporting our long-term objectives.

There is already a long history of bird ringing / bird banding in Cape Town, providing initial data on timing of breeding and moult for a wide variety of species. This data can be analysed in cooperation with the BDI.

If interested, ringers may also participate and contribute to other biodiversity projects. These include bird atlasing (SABAP2, http://sabap2.adu.org.za), photos for the Virtual Museum (http://vmus.adu.org.za).

Find out more about the expeditions:

General: Find more of our ringing posts here.