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  • Rubén Portas

Ringing in a new collaboration

On May 7th, an inaugural bird-ringing session took place at the Ongava Game Reserve. The session was organized by the ORC and led by Ruben Portas, with assistance from avian ecologist Dr. Teja Curk. The main objective of the session was to study and monitor bird populations in the area.

During the session, two mist nets were set up in the afternoon. Mist nets are designed to safely capture birds for closer examination. They are made of a fine mesh that is difficult for most bird species to see, causing them to become entangled. In this case, the mist nets yielded 12 captures of five different species.

The species captured during the session included the Brown-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Black-chested Prinia, and Bare-cheeked Babbler. Among these, the capture of the Bare-cheeked Babbler was particularly noteworthy, as it is known for effectively evading mist nets. After capture, all birds were carefully handled and processed. This involved fitting specially coded rings on their legs, which serve as identification markers for individual birds. The birds were also measured, photographed, and weighed to gather additional data. Once the data collection was complete, the birds were safely released back into their habitat.

The ringing process and subsequent data collection serve multiple purposes. First, it allows for the monitoring of bird movements, which is especially important for migratory species. By tracking individual birds over time, researchers can gain insights into migration patterns and behaviour. Second, the morphological features measured and recorded during the session provide valuable information about how birds function in their local or regional environment and might vary geographically.

This bird-ringing session was the first step in establishing a long-term monitoring effort. The plan is to conduct similar sampling exercises on a monthly basis, allowing for consistent data collection and analysis. Additionally, the project aims to involve Namibian students and the general public in ornithological research by providing access to the collected data. By engaging the local community, the project hopes to advance scientific knowledge and conservation efforts related to birds in Namibia.


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