National Trust Discovers the UK's Oldest Arctic Tern
Trust Discovers the UK's Oldest Arctic Tern
on: September 29, 2010, 4:05 am
Author: National Trust
Trust reports that an Arctic tern discovered off the coast of Northumberland
is believed to be more than 30 years-old, making it the oldest known in the
ringed on the Farne Islands on 28 June 1980, it was re-trapped on Inner Farne
this summer. The bird would have been ringed when a few days old making it now
more than 30 years of age.
tern was trapped in 1980 by a team of wardens that included John Walton who
is now the National Trust property
manager for the islands.
Walton said: "This is a remarkable discovery especially as only one-in-50
birds that are ringed are subsequently caught again.
in 1980 I was in my second year as a seasonal warden. Part of my job was ringing
tern chicks. When I put ring number CE60645 onto the chick's leg and recorded
it in the log I thought no more of it. It was one of hundreds that would make
the perilous journey down to the Antarctic that winter.
the news broke regarding the tern I was out like a shot to see how CE60645 had
fared. This bird will have flown close to one million miles, raised any number
of chicks, survived predators and storms and still looks in brilliant shape.
contrast, I have led a relatively sedentary existence and kept adventure to
a sensible level, in fact alongside the tern I look knackered."
previous British record for the oldest Arctic Tern was 29 years, 10 months and
11 days which was also discovered on the Farne Islands.
estimated 2,199 pairs of Arctic tern spent the summer months on the Farne Islands
this year compared to around 3,129 pairs that made up the population in 1980.
The decrease in numbers counted is largely down to a colony shift.
Barber, Recoveries Officer at the British Trust for Ornithology, said: "This
is a great record but something we wouldn't have known about if this bird hadn't
this uniquely numbered ring, we really would have little knowledge of how long
Arctic terns live and breed.
highlights the importance of ringing as a tool for conservation which allows
us to identify birds as individuals. Let's hope Arctic Tern CE60645 returns
to the Farne Islands next year and breaks its own record."
Arctic tern was recently discovered to have the longest migration route of any
animal, flying an estimated 44,000 miles between breeding grounds in Greenland
to Antarctica in an 'S' shape to take advantage of prevailing global wind systems
in order to preserve energy.
Steel, head warden on the Farne Islands, added: "The oldest known Arctic
tern is a 34 year-old American so it would be nice to see this bird, one day,
claim the record – watch this space."
the National Trust:
The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation organisations
in Europe with over 1,000 sites covering 250,000 hectares, including coastal
sites, woodland and upland areas; many of which are rich in wildlife and provide
opportunities for days
out for families. All 17 species of UK bat have been recorded as roosting
or breeding on National Trust land and 96 per cent of all resident UK butterflies
can be found on its land. Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire is the trusts most species
rich site and 93 per cent of its land has been surveyed for its nature conservation
than 30 different outdoor days
out in the UK from canoeing to surfing and rock climbing to walking take
place on National Trust land. With more than 250,000 hectares of countryside
and 710 miles of coastline across England, Wales and Northern Ireland there
are plenty of places
to go and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with the National Trust.
further press information please contact:
Assistant Press Officer
The National Trust
01793 81 7740
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