South Yorkshire Times February 3, 1951
Conisbrough Man Helps in Bird Census
Ringed Specimens Like it and Revisit Trap
In a Conisbrough back garden there is a large wire cage, with two doors cunningly held open by string-attached props. With that cage, its owner, Mr. A. E. Platt, of Doncaster Road, has already trapped over 80 birds. But each one has been allowed to fly away again, and that they have not suffered is proved when they often come back again.
Only Local “Ringer ” ?
Mr. Platt believes that he is the only person in the district who is ringing birds for the Bird Ringing Committee of the British Trust for Ornithology. A member of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union, which authorises him to trap and ring birds, Mr Platt has been helping in this form of research since November.
He wants to encourage the observation of birds rather than the taking of their eggs,- and in carrying out his spare-time service Mr.Platt is taking part in a nation wide survey into the habits of birds.
After seeing the largest ringing station in Yorkshire—at Spurn—Mr. Platt decided he would like to try. So he built his own trap, and bought his own ‘rings. Then, complete with several recognition books, a pair of field glasses, and a long piece of cord attached to the props other cage doors, he set himself to wait for his first capture.
Since then he has caught 10 varieties of birds, reach up 30 (E: one Robin four times) and is hoping one day that he might find some rare species in his garden.
In October, his complete records of the birds trapped, the number the rings placed on the leg of each, the sex, and the age of each bird, will go to the British Museum in London for filing. And Mr. Platt will begin on another year’s ringing—purely voluntarily.
When a bird is safely in his cage, it is coaxed into two smaller cages at one end, and finally taken out through a “sleeve.” Its details are noted, and it is ringed. And that is not easy, To begin with, there is a special way of holding a bird—head between the first two fingers, the third and fourth fingers round the body, and the tail pointing away from the holder. The light, specially made aluminium rings, stamped with a number, have to be chosen according to the type of bird. They must be clipped on to the leg (Mr. Platt marks all his on the right) so that they can slide up and down, but not off.
Always care must be taken that birds are not damaged during the ringing, and if they are hurt, they must not be ringed.
So far, Mr. Platt has ringed only the birds he traps. From them he can learn their migratory habits, their age, whether they stay in certain districts. Eventually he hopes to ring nestlings – young birds in their nests, almost ready to fly. Even then there must be care.The bird must be settled down after ringing; or it may leave its nest prematurely. No birds that have been in captivity must ever be ringed, as it is only habits of completely well birds that are being studied.
Although Mr Platt is the only ringer in the district, there is another member of the committee-Mr. P. C. Griffith, also of Conisbro’. Mr. Griffith, to, is a keen birdwatcher.