Thursday, 4 July 2013

Ringers on the Roof

Tuesday saw what is becoming an annual event for the Cardiff Ringers – a visit to the roof tops of Cardiff with Peter Rock.* This trip, as well as providing a gulls eye view of our beloved City, is a great warm up for our Flat Holm gull ringing trip (coming this weekend).
Up on the roof...
...we were after these! Although this one was to you for us. 
As parent gulls defend their part of the urban metacolony with vigour, catching gull chicks on roofs is not for the faint hearted nor the fool hardy. Although by signing up you are clearly the latter so we fielded two trianees; Pliers Morgan and Lizzie G. Unlike their trainer, they both remained gull excreta free.
We finished the day with over 40 lesser black-backed gull and a few herring gull chicks ringed. Our biggest haul was 31 from one roof! We'll be heading back up in the next week or so to catch those birds too young to ring on this trip.
Lizzie G and Pliers with 31 gulls ready to ring.
This years colour rings comprise black letters on a yellow ring. If you see any in Cardiff or the great yonder then please let Peter know – he can be contacted at
With an estimated population of 3,339 pairs of gull breeding in Cardiff in 2011, the largest of 38 assessed in the Severn Estuary area, you would be forgiven for thinking that ringing sites abound. However, other than the obvious presence of breeding gulls, a roof has to meet several criteria before it can be deemed workable:
- It needs to be safe to walk on
- Be surrounded by a decent parapet to stop young gulls disappearing over the edge
- Have a good chick to roof ratio to make it worthwhile (i.e. pairs in or close to double figures)
- Be accessible
- Be control measure free (no nest destruction or egg oiling going on, plastic owls are fine as they don’t work)
If you know of any roofs that meet these criteria in the Cardiff are then please let Peter know (details above).
*correct, the very same Peter Rock of episode 11 of Springwatch 2013 fame (

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