Watch out for colour-ringed buntings!
I was delighted to receive this email from Wieland Heim, leader of the Amur Birding Project, just up the road.. (it’s a long road).
“Rapidly declining population trends have recently been found for Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola and Rustic Bunting E. rustica, but our knowledge about their migration routes and survival rates is still very limited. To address this, a colour-ring study was started at Muraviovka Park in Far East Russia. Volunteers of the Amur Bird Project equipped the first Yellow-breasted Buntings with individual combinations during breeding season in 2015. Happily, three out of seven males safely returned to their breeding grounds in 2016. To compare survival rates among sympatric breeding species, we decided to include Black-faced Bunting E. spodocephala, Chestnut-eared Bunting E. fucata, Common Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus and Japanese Reed Bunting E. yessoensis in our study. During spring and summer 2016, we managed to equip almost 200 buntings with colourful ring combinations at our study site on the Amur river.
Now, migration has begun for most of these species, and our colour-ringed buntings might occur anywhere in East Asia. Please scan all bunting flocks carefully! All birds have one colour-ring above the metal ring of the Moscow ringing centre on one leg, and two colour-rings on the second leg. Used colours are black, blue, green, orange, purple, red, white and yellow. If possible, take pictures of buntings which seem to wear a ring. We had to find out that it can be hard to determine the colour in the field, however it is very easy on the computer screen, even if the photo is anything but perfect.
Please let us know if you come across a colour-ringed bird, and help to shed light on the yet unknown migration routes of this beautiful birds! We will send you in return all information about the bird.”
If you see any, please report information, including date, location and, if possible, a photo to Wieland Heim (amurbirding|at|gmx.de) or via the excellent Amur Birding blog: amurbirding.blogspot.com