14.05.2012 change 14.05.2012

More coastal birds ringed in the Baltic Campaign

PAP © 2012 / Andrzej Rybczyński PAP © 2012 / Andrzej Rybczyński

Ringing birds during their migration is the main task of the Baltic Campaign, in which Polish scientists and nature lovers have been involved for 50 years. Since the beginning of the project, almost one million six hundred thousand birds have been ringed.

The campaign organized by the Bird Migration Research Station of the University of Gdańsk provides information on the population and habits of the species of birds, and, for example, birds’ reaction to climate change.

According to Krzysztof Klinkosz from the University of Gdańsk, the majority of ringed birds have been extensively measured, the result being the largest database of measurements of vertebrates in the world. Based on the collected data scientists have prepared more than 200 different publications and reports.

"This allows our scientists conducting studies of the evolution under the pressure of climate change to base their research on real data and not, as in the case of other research centres, on simulations and models" - reads the release sent to PAP.

Observing the behaviour of migratory birds, as well as their bodies, allows to learn how climate change affects the animals.

"From the 1960s to 1987 we witnessed a slight cooling of the climate and it was also reflected in birds that were better adjusted to long flights. Since 1987, we see global warming and bird migrations have become shorter. They migrate later , there are also changes in their wings" - explained head of the Baltic Campaign Dr. Jaroslaw Nowakowski of the Bird Migration Research Station of the University of Gdańsk.

During the campaign, participants capture mainly passerines, such as great tit, robin, kinglet, song thrush, blackbird, long-tailed tit and chaffinch, but also the woodpeckers, owls and birds of prey - popularly known as predatory birds. Every year, species rare in Poland also found. Sometimes they come from America or the Mediterranean, but most often they are species from Siberia.

The Baltic Campaign includes migratory birds in the vicinity of the Vistula Spit, Hel Peninsula, and Darłowo. Birds are caught in special ornithological networks, caught birds are ringed and measured in the camp.

New inspections are carried out every hour from dawn to dusk, and during the migration of owls also at night. Scientists work regardless of weather. They from a few to more than 1,500 birds a day.

This year\'s spring ringing is conducted from 23 March to 22 May in Kuźnice on Hel Peninsula. In autumn the campaign will include the Vistula Spit. Participation is not reserved for professional ornithologists, all nature lovers can participate. Specialist knowledge of ornithology is not necessary, it is acquired on the job.

Participants of the work carried out in the field can be adults only. "Only in exceptional cases we accept minors, such as high school seniors interested in field research in natural sciences" - according to the regulations.

The method of bird ringing was developed in the late nineteenth century. Every ornithological ring contains a unique letter and digit code that allows identification even after many years, and abbreviated bird ringing centre address from which the ring originates.

Detailed information on the campaign is available at: http://akbalt.ug.edu.pl/ab_ab_pl.php

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