Ringing Returns and Vat Returns

A ringing recovery is the small, but significant reward or return a ringer gets (in an abstract way) after countless mornings of disturbed sleep and strong black coffee. You could compare them to a small cash back you might get after submitting a vat return, maybe. This week I got my first ringing recovery in quite some time, which is not surprising, as my recent ringing efforts have been modest, to say the least, since I left Denmark in 2014.

A simple email from the Danish Zoological Museum  may just be the catalyst to energise me to get back to the nets, to continue collecting and generating ringing records for the greater good. To continue contributing, paying my taxes in a way.


16/10/2012 ringed in Denmark, 19/2/2017 found dead in Portugal – a total of 1980km over a time of 4 years, 4 months & 13 days. Image: Google Maps.

A Song Thrush (lets call him 8A70909) ringed in October 2012 in Denmark turned up in northern Portugal last week. A total of 1,597 days (4 years, 4 months and 13 days) after I met him. I initially thought this was quite a ripe old age for a small bird. A bit of digging told me I was wrong. EURING records show the oldest recorded Song Thursh to be 17 years and 8 moths! It looks like 8A70909 had a whole lot more living to do – especially as the recovery record told me he had been shot. It appears illegal hunting still goes on in Portugal.


One of the many sunrises I enjoyed at Keldsnor, Langeland (Denmark)

That email brought me back to Langeland, right down to Keldsnor, a beautiful reserve at the tip of the island where migrating birds bottleneck on their way south. Cool autumn mornings with ribbons of birds streaming across the sky. It’s hard not to imagine the journey 8A70909 has made – possibly many times since 2012. Summers in Denmark and winters in Portugal. Sounds like a good life to me. Maybe avoiding taxes all together too?!

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