Northumbria Ringing Group – Mute Swan Ringing RAS

AdultThe North East Swan Study Group, now part of Northumbria Ringing Group, have ringed Mute Swans in the Northumberland, Tyneside and Durham area since the late 1980s. Currently, the study covers an area from Amble and Warkworth in Northumberland, south into County Durham and west to Bolam and Belsay.

Every summer we catch and ring breeding swans and their cygnets as well as individual birds in the established summer moult flocks. In the winter we ring any birds that arrive at the winter flock sites. Ringing Mute Swans help us to study their movement, breeding biology and regional population.

All birds are caught by hand using a little feed to bring them close enough. Once caught, the swans are quickly ringed, aged, sexed and released again.

Adult darvicThis summer any breeding adult birds caught were also ringed with engraved, red plastic colour rings or darvics so they can be easily identified in future as part of the BTO’s Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) scheme.

43 breeding adult birds had darvics added this year. A further three birds already had darvic rings from earlier study work and four birds were identified through their metal rings alone.

76 cygnets from were ringed from 23 broods at the following sites:

Location Cygnets ringed
Herrington Country Park 5/5
Silksworth 4/4
Pelaw Pond 2/2
Axwell Park 6/6
Shibdon Pond 1/2
Bradley Hall 2/5
Big Waters 5/6
Killingworth 3/4
Hadston Lake 7/7
Woodhorn Flash 0/2
Brasside Pond 6/6
Brasside Fishing Pool 3/6
Tilesheds 1/3
Oliver Henderson Park 4/4
Whickham Watergate Park 6/6
Newcastle Exhibition Park 1/1
Saltwell Park 1/1
Rainton Meadows 6/6
Joe’s Pond 3/3
R Wansbeck (Sheepwash) 2/4

Cygnet ringIf anyone should successfully read either a colour ring or a metal ring on a Mute Swan in the North East, I’d be delighted to hear from them and supply details of where and when they were ringed by reply.

Andy Rickeard
Email – andyrickeard (at)
Twitter-  @andyrick_birds