In the lead up to Birding Big Day tomorrow, Saturday the 23rd November, Intaka has been a hive of activity, with all kinds of interesting programs running through the whole of the week. In fact they arranged for the gates to be open at six every morning, to allow interested parties to come and have a look-see before they had to go to work.

The Intaka Island initiative is being held with a mini Expo in the mornings presented by all the local bird clubs, guided tours with the Intaka rangers, morning educational programs with the Animal Demography Unit, in conjunction with My Bird Patch, where they have been putting up nets, capturing birds, ringing them, capturing the data and releasing the birds afterwards. Great care is taken to ensure that no harm is done to the birds and that they are collected as soon as possible to decrease stress in the birds.

We were extremely lucky to be spectators almost every day. We have to say a big thanks to Michael Brooks, Arnold van der Westhuizen, all the ringers, the wonderful Intaka rangers and the winning smile, ever ready to help Leandri of Intaka’s behind the scenes workings, and the many bird clubs that took part. Everyone was so helpful, so informative and I don’t know what they put in their coffee but they never seemed to get tired, in spite of having three guided tours one after another, in one morning? That’s not counting the likes of ourselves pushing our noses in everywhere.

It was so interesting and I was really inspired by the hard work and dedication that everyone put into this job. I went back every morning to learn something new. The intricacies of recording the ring number together with the measurements of the head, beak and wings, the weight of the bird, the bird species and whether the bird is in molt or not. These details are then uploaded to the database of the Animal Demography Unit at the university for use in further research.

The research is very in depth and is useful for many researchers for their further studies and also for measuring whether a species is increasing or decreasing in an area and the reasons why this could be occurring. I really did pay a lot of attention but the many uses of this research is too many to spell out on this short blog. If you would like to find out more you can go to ADU Virtual museums

I am hoping that we will be seeing more of these initiatives in future.