Island Conservation Society, University of Seychelles’ Island Biodiversity and Conservation Centre (UniSey IBC) and SAFRING, the Southern African Region Birdringing Scheme, recently teamed up for a week on the Seychelles Nature Reserve of Aride Island to train conservation professionals in bird ringing, mist net techniques and data management.
Aride was chosen as the ideal location for the immersion course, thanks to the diversity of endemic land birds and migratory seabird colonies present, with the bonus of easy access from Praslin, good facilities and a variety of intact natural (and beautiful) habitats.
Bird ringing and marking helps researchers learn more about bird biology and ecology, estimate population size, study migrations and identify possible threats. Tagging is particularly useful for species with a global range, such as migratory seabirds. Ringing also helps identify individuals in severely threatened populations.
Participants worked intensely over the five days to ring 379 birds, mostly Seychelles Fodys, a tiny endemic bird that inhabits woodland and gardens. Other species tagged included Seychelles Sunbirds, Seychelles Warblers (Aride Island is home to over 80% of the world’s population), Madagascar Turtle Doves, White-Tailed Tropicbirds, Lesser Noddys, Brown Noddys, Fairy Terns, Ruddy Turnstones, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Tropical Shearwaters. The population of endangered Seychelles Magpie Robins including a new chick, were also ringed.
The course was conducted prior to the popular Ecotourism season (November to May), to ensure minimal disturbance to the birds. Training was financed under the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) project: ‘Advancing Environmental Management Practices & Threatened Species Recovery through Partnerships with Private Sector’.
Thanks to CEPF, IBC UniSey, SAFRING and congratulations to all the participants on their new skills.