Citizen science

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Impressive adult Shag in full summer plumage

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One of this year chicks sporting its rings!

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Long-living adults revealing their unique codes

Friday 13th October comments: It’s that time of year again when we ask for help to support an important bit of seabird research. Over the last twenty years or so the population of Shags on the Isle of May NNR have been intensely studied by our friends at CEH.

A colour ringing scheme between the University of Aberdeen and Central for Ecology and Hydrology has been looking at the dispersal of the breeding Shags from the Isle of May and other east coast breeding sites. During the summer breeding adults and chicks are fitted with a unique colour ring with three digits – which makes it easy to read at distance with binoculars or telescopes.

What we now need is those sightings! Anyone can take part, so if you are out and about along the coast (especially the east coast) with a pair binoculars, telescope or camera, check out the roosting Shags and spot the coloured rings! If you find any or discover them as tideline corpses over the winter please report all sightings to: shags@ceh.ac.uk

It’s all part of the science and you’ll be making a valuable contribution to increasing our knowledge of this very special seabird. Now go find some colour rings…

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