Launching my first study on waders

I have been connected to shorebird science for more than 20 years, since I first attended the International Wader Study Group conference in Hungary. Working on the shorebird handbook brought science even closer to me allowing to learn more about research despite I’m not a scientist.

This year I kick off my first migration study on Little Ringed Plovers (Charadrius dubious).

The Little Ringed Plover is among the commonest breeding shorebird species in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin (part of Slovakia, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Romania Ukraine and covering the entire territory of Hungary) thanks to its relatively high flexibility in habitat use. Despite being one of the commonest and most widespread species, little is known about the migration and wintering sites of this impressive wader species. Based on the data, published in the Bird Migration Atlas of Hungary, over 2,000 Little Ringed Plovers have been ringed until 2006 (55 years of ringing) but only 8 birds were recaptured abroad, while just 5 foreign ringed birds recovered from Hungary.

The knowledge on the migration of other European subpopulations of Little Ringed Plover isn’t any better. Using new technologies give more chance to get better understanding of the migration of smaller shorebirds.

The goal of the project

  • Learning more about the migration strategies, routes and wintering sites of the Little Ringed Plover breeding in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin part of Serbia.
  • Determining which European subpopulations of Little Ringed Plover use the Carpathian Basin as a stopover region.
  • Getting better understanding of the migration strategies of different European subpopulations of Little Ringed Plover.
  • Getting data on site and mate fidelity of adults and return rate to the place of birth of juveniles.

10mm tall red rings with two white engraved characters (two letters or a letter and a number) will be used to have a chance better recovery rate of birds without the need of recapturing. The supporting ring will be plain orange and a national metal ring have to be used as well. The red ring will be placed on the left tibia (upper leg above the knee), metal ring in on the left tarsus (lower leg) and the plain orange ring on the right tibia.

During the next two breeding seasons breeding adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover will be captured and ringed/banded in Hungary, Romania and possibly in Serbia. We also target to ring birds during post-breeding gathering and both on spring and fall migration.

Follow the project on our dedicated Shorebird Studies wordpress site.