The Cape Bird Club

National Bird Week celebrated  at  Bishops on the 4th May 2005.
text by Penny Dichmont (English teacher)

LEAP Science and Maths School attend a lecture at Bishops.

Our next event in Birding Week was an evening lecture on Bird Ringing by Doug Harebottle from the Avian Demographic Unit (ADU) at Bishops.
Fifteen LEAP students attended the event on Wednesday 4th May and enjoyed the slides and innovative way in which it was presented.

photograph by Penny Dichmont

from the left Elliot Dyan (LEAP), Daniel Sharples (Chairman of Bishops Bird Club), Ndumiso Nkozwana (LEAP), Thembalethu Krakri (LEAP), Doug Harebottle, Geoff Kieswetter (Bishops) and Dalikhaya Mgoqi (LEAP).



This Common Waxbill's feathers being  checked for the state of moult, the 'bird ringers' can tell surprising amounts of information about the condition and age by holding and inspecting the bird. This takes training and time to learn.

A Blackwinged Stilt chick ringed at Zandvlei.

One of Doug's quiz questions about "What?" involved the longest gap between ringing and recovery. I knew that some of my students had read in Birds and Birding about the Albatross, which had been recovered after 41 years and I saw Elliot put up his hand to answer.


It was a proud moment for me, when he answered correctly, as it showed that the Club members are learning more and more about birds, that are far removed from their own world - and getting absorbed by them, in the process.

photograph by Doug Harebottle

A juvenile Malachite Kingfisher about to be released.

Doug explained the lengthy training process required before one could ring birds. He mentioned that there were other ways to get involved, such as helping record data. We learnt that he goes every month to Zandvlei to ring birds, and thought that would make an interesting outing for our Bird Club in the future.

When I asked the Bird Club President, Dalikhaya whether he would like to get involved, he said, "Yes, as Leapeans, it is a way of giving back" - which is exactly what I had felt.


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