18 January 2016

Black Sparrowhawk chicks contributing to science

Adult female Black Sparrowhawk photographed by Sibyl Morris on Meadowridge Common on October 2015.
Visitors to Meadowridge Common last spring may have noticed that a pair of Black Sparrowhawks successfully reared a family of three chicks in one of the tall pines on the Common. In September the chicks (one female and two males) were ringed - a process that involved a professional rock-climber who retrieved the chicks one by one, placed them in a yellow bag and lowered them to the ground where they were ringed, measured, weighed and returned to their nests again. A more detailed description of the process and what information can be gained from ringing these birds can be found on the website of the Black Sparrowhawk Project. There were also some posts on our Facebook Page.

Margaret Macivor with one of the three Meadowridge Common Black Sparrowhawk chicks - all of which were successfully ringed.  


The adult female, mother of the three Meadowridge Common chicks, watching the ringing process. Note her rings. Photo: Margaret Macivor.
Mark Cowan, climber and expert chick ringer.
The guidelines for trapping birds are very strict. Not only does the trapper have to have had training in handling and ringing of the birds, but they also have to be registered with the ADU who gives them permission to do so.  In addition, they have to have permission from the Province in the form of a “hunting licence” to be allowed to trap. (From the website The Black Sparrowhawk Project.)