The Ringing Scheme of East Africa has just received news of a Lesser Flamingo that was found freshly dead at Lake Baringo on 13th February this year with a ring. The incredible thing about it is that the ring was a BTO ring (British Trust for Ornithology) that was one of those rings used on a batch of several thousand Lesser Flamingo chicks that bred at at Lake Magadi in….1962!!
This bird was in fact ringed by none other than the very well-known Leslie Brown on 1st November 1962 making it 50 years, 3 months and 25 days old!
It must surely be the oldest recorded Lesser Flamingo and quite stunning that it lived for so long. A few years ago there was one recovered also at Magadi that was about 45 years old – there may be one or two more out there with rings from that time!
If anyone receives this who knows more about that ringing event of Lesser Flamingo chicks in 1962 – or was perhaps even there and took part, it would be really interesting to know the full story. I believe many of the chicks had got ‘anklets’ of encrusted soda formed around their legs which were acting as a ‘ball and chain’ and were killing the birds. Rescuers were breaking the balls of encrusted soda off and putting rings on thus saving the lives of many flamingos – some to live to over 50 years later!
The person who found the flamingo is Nick Armour of Swavesey, England, to whom we are indebted for reporting the ring. The distance from ringing site to recovery site is 242kms.
We need to spread the word of what ringing is about so that members of the public who find ringed birds know what to do with them – i.e. report them to the ringing scheme / museum. If anyone reading this has opportunity for publishing stories or reports in newspapers / magazines / report on radio etc, please do so. There must be dozens of rings found by the public that are never reported due simply to ignorance of what they are.
Colin Jackson (via Titus Imboma)