Colour-ringed Sparrowhawks in Edinburgh

Have You Seen Our Sparrowhawks?!

The ecology of urban Sparrowhawks has been studied within Edinburgh since the late 1980’s. However, despite ongoing monitoring of a number of nests across the city, little is known about the dispersal strategies and survival rates of juvenile birds once they fledge the nest. Photo: Jonathan Avery

In an attempt to improve our understanding of the behaviour of these juvenile birds, 31 Sparrowhawk chicks from seven nest sites in Edinburgh have been ringed with unique colour rings this year. You can greatly assist this research project by watching for and reporting observations of these colour ringed birds.

The colour rings are white, uniquely coded with two vertical alphanumeric characters (i.e. letter over number, or letter over letter) and are placed on the right leg. To provide ease of visibility, these codes are repeated twice around the circumference of the ring. The rings can be read on a perched bird at a distance of approximately 20 m with binoculars or up to 75 m using a scope. If you don’t have such equipment, taking a picture with a digital camera will often allow the ring to be read once the picture is uploaded. A small unique metal BTO ring has also been applied to the left leg of the chicks but these cannot be read unless the bird is in the hand.

If you observe one of these colour ringed Sparrowhawks, please record the ring’s code, date and time, as well as the location. Please report all sightings, even if you were unable to determine the ring code.

Please Report Sparrowhawk Observations to:

Alan Heavisides
(Chairman of the Lothian & Borders Raptor Study Group)

Photo: Jonathan Avery

Photos above of a bird ringed in Edinburgh taken by Jonathan Avery on 10th January near Blackness, Linlithgow.