Wing Tags

A wing-tagged chick released in Aberdeen

Some Red Kite chicks are fitted with wing tags and ringed - the ring is attached to one leg. Each ring contains a unique identification number.

Left - A ringed and wing tagged kite destined for Aberdeen

The tags are viewable by means of binoculars or a 'scope. The tag usually stays on the bird for several years.

The tag on the right wing denotes the year the bird hatched. Pink is the colour for 2009. Note the yellow band on the bottom of the tag, denoting the location of origin.

Below is an explanation of some of the wings tags you may see: The colour seen on the right wing denotes the age of the bird, and the colour on the left wing denotes the area where the bird came from (e.g. Chilterns).

Wing Tags

During the breeding season, experienced tree climbers check the nests. When the birds are approximately 5 weeks old, they are ringed by trained licensed ringers. The birds are also wing-tagged, measured, weighed and given a general check over.

The photo on the right shows 3 chicks that had just been lowered down from the nest, ready to be weighed, measured, ringed and wing-tagged. Not all the chicks are wing-tagged when lowered from the nest - it depends on how well developed they are.

Note the difference between the sizes. The bird on the right is clearly more developed than the one on the left, who has some catching up to do! This is quite normal when more than one chick is being raised, since the first hatched is usually the biggest chick that takes the majority of the food. The parents tend to feed the stronger of the chicks, which ensures at least one of them survive.

A Red Kite chick taken from the nest to be ringed and wing-tagged.

Left - A chick ready to be wing-tagged and ringed.

Photos © Helen Olive