Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010
Yesterday saw the first of this year's Great Bustards to be released into the wild. Five male Great Bustards were released into the Bustard Pen at the reintroduction site on Salisbury Plain. All birds were fitted with wingtags (this year's colour is a nice shade of pink) and two were fitted with GPS enabled PTT transmitters that will allow staff to track the movements of the birds with pin-point accuracy. All five birds were doing well this afternoon.
This year's release is being coordinated by University of Bath PhD student John Burnside who is researching whether there is any link between release method and post-release survival. John is being helped by Cathy Shaw, an undergraduate Conservation Biology student from the University of Exeter.
An automatic feeding station has been established within the pen, using some recycled mango chutney barrells from a local Indian restaurant (the excellent Goa Balti House in Everleigh!). Five plastic decoy Great Bustards have been positioned around the feeding station in the hope that the newly released birds will associate with the decoys and stay close to home for their first few weeks after release. The decoys have been used for the last 18 months to attract Great Bustards from previous years of releases back to the release site. So, it wont be long before the older birds meet up with the new boys on the block.
Why not book a place on a guided tour of the release site and see the new birds for yourself?