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ICTS-RBD prepares the 30th Migratory Passerine Bird Ringing Campaign in Doñana

As every year during summer, the Environmental Monitoring Team ICTS-RBD of the Doñana Biological Station-CSIC, announces the organisation of the ringing campaign of passerines during the post-nuptial migration at the Manecorro Ringing Station (Doñana National Park). The campaign is part of the Monitoring Programme Natural Resources and Processes of the Doñana Natural Area, and has been carried out uninterruptedly since 1994, making this year the 30th anniversary of this monitoring of the migratory phenomenon in European passerines. From its beginnings to the present day, the work carried out in this campaign has generated a considerable time series of data on migration in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, a strategic area for these small birds on their journey to their African wintering quarters.

The main objective of the campaign is the evaluation of the population dynamics of passerines and similar species that cross Doñana during their postnuptial migration, trying to detect possible trends and changes, both phenological and numerical. Another of the aspects to which special attention is paid is the sedimentation characteristics of the migrant species in the area. In parallel to these fundamental objectives, various research projects often take advantage of the research to collect biological samples (feathers, blood, parasites, faeces, etc.) or specific biometric data. As a result of these collaborations, more than 30 articles have been published in different scientific journals.

More than 90,000 birds ringed since the first campaign

In the 29 years that the campaign has been active, just over 90,000 birds of 124 different species have been captured, with an average of around 3,000 captures per campaign. The most abundant species in terms of the number of tagged birds are the common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), robin (Erithacus rubecula), pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), warbler (Sylvia borin), pied flycatcher (Phylloscopus trochilus) and reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus).

To the most common species should be added the capture of others considered as rarities for Spain, such as the Boreal Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis), the Siberian Warbler (Phylloscopus collybita tristis), the 'eastern' warbler (Sylvia curruca blythi/halimodendri), the red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) -3 specimens-, the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis), Hodgson's pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) and the great spotted flycatcher (Carpodacus erythrinus). Likewise, since 1999, a total of 28 captures have been recorded of the bilistine warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), a species considered a rarity until 2016 and which has one of the main marking localities in the whole Peninsula at the Manecorro Ringing Station.

Collaboration with volunteers

For the realisation of the campaign we are asking for the collaboration of people who have some knowledge of scientific ringing, or ringers in training and who want to participate as collaborators. Expert ringers who would like to deepen their knowledge are also welcome. The special dedication of the Manecorro Ringing Station to the identification, sexing, dating and moulting of the species captured makes it a very appropriate place for training in scientific bird ringing. Likewise, the ringers responsible for the campaign have an extensive professional curriculum in the capture and marking of birds, and a wide experience in the training of new ringers. Since 1994, around a thousand collaborators of 19 different nationalities have passed through the Manecorro Ringing Station, many of them being trainee or expert ringers.

The period during which this activity will take place at the Manecorro Ringing Station will be between 1 September and 15 November, as in previous years. Participation periods must be at least ten days, although longer periods are more useful both for the collaborators and for the organisation of the campaign. Participants will be provided with free accommodation in El Rocío, only 1 km from the ringing station. The nets will remain open until 5 hours after sunrise, Monday to Friday.

Those interested in taking part in the campaign can contact us here: