Mexicans ringing their birds the Polish way now

For many years Mexican ornithologists have had no bird-ringing scheme of their own, until now.

Ornithologists of Poland’s Baltic Action (AB), which has been setting global bird-ringing trends for many years, are not only schooling their Mexican peers but also have devised a ringing system for them.

The scheme kicked-off in February 2019 and was contrived by the AB, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the SE European Bird Migration Network (SEEN), the EU’s Ringing Scheme (EURING) and the University of Gdańsk’s ornithologists.

According to AB’s Jarosław Nowakowski, Mexico has not had a ringing scheme until now. “Anyone could have minted their own ring with whatever legend. Many people were using US rings. The ringing was done in a haphazard manner, for instance, as a touristic attraction on the spot of regular scientific research. After a ringing has been concluded and bits of research have been published, priceless data would perish in their owner’s drawer,” said Mr Nowakowski.

Mariusz Janczur Feret came up with the idea to create a scheme that took after the Polish one in 2016. Since then, the AB is training Mexican ornithologists, starting from basics such as what bird-ringing is, what data are collected, how to specify genders and age of captured birds. A total of seven Mexican ornithologists visited Poland to participate in the training.

The other part of the schooling took place in Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz state, Mexico. In February 2019, more workshops were organised during which the Mexican Bird-Ringing Scheme was inaugurated.

Mr Nowakowski stressed that bird-ringing is not just about putting a ring around a birds leg: “birds are weighted, measured, their condition and the moulting process are described, many of them have their blood genetically and biochemically tested, epidemiological material is collected and geolocators are put on the birds.”

The AB head added that the scientists are working on automated acoustic monitoring.