Seabirds and shorebirds

Hartlaub's Gulls Larus hartlaubii

RingWatching: a new way to express the passion for birds

  Hartlaub's Gull
Photo D. Oschadleus

Some birders are twitchers, some are ringers, some enjoy participating in ADU projects such as BIRP, CWAC or CAR, and some fill in Nest Record Cards. Here is a new way to be passionate about birds. Become a RingWatcher. Inspect all the Hartlaub's Gulls you see for rings. The yellow colour ring is conspicuous. It has two letters or digits engraved in black. Unless the bird is extremely close, you will need binoculars or a telescope to read the characters. Binoculars are fine up to a distance of about 20 m. If you are 100% sure that you have read the ring correctly, please report the sighting to SAFRING. The postal address is SAFRING, UCT, Rondebosch 7701, the email address is safring@adu.uct.ac.za, the phone number is (021) 650 2421, and the fax number is (021) 650 3434. The information needed is date, time, place, and the numbers and/or letters on the engraved band. Please send your own address and contact details. SAFRING will let you know where the bird was ringed, and if it has been seen by anyone else.

You can RingWatch for a wide variety of bird species. Because of improvements in the technology for colour rings, there are increasing numbers of projects using them in southern Africa, and there are also projects involving migrants from the northern hemisphere. If you see a bird with colour rings or colour dyes, carefully observe the marks, and report the sighting to SAFRING. If the coordinators of the project can be tracked down, SAFRING will be forward the sighting to them, and provide feedback to the RingWatcher.

Would you like to sponsor the rings on a Hartlaub's Gull, and help keep the project going? For a minimum donation of R20, you can have a Hartlaub's Gull with your own initials flying about. Send a cheque, made out to the University of Cape Town, to SAFRING, UCT, Rondebosch, 7701.

Hartlaub's Gull
Photo D. Oschadleus