How do you feel? Choughed thanks

Sorry about the clunky pun, but I couldn’t help myself. Congratualtions to Tony Cross and Adrienne Stratford whose work tracking Welsh choughs has been recognised with a Marsh Award for Local Ornithology (from the British Trust for Ornithology).

When I’ve been in touch with Tony it has been to talk about red kites, but he has other irons in the fire. He and Adrienne have been keeping tabs on the births, marriages and deaths of choughs since 1991. Since they started their mostly-voluntary project they have ringed more than 5,000 Welsh birds.

Using rings in colour combinations, they have been able to pull together what the BTO says is a ‘gold-standard’ dataset about the fortunes of individual birds. One result of following the lives of their choughs so closely is that they have found that a lack of nesting sites is an issue in some areas.

That has prompted an effort to put custom-made nest boxes on cliffs in the right sort of locations, which have gone down well with choughs. You could say that they’re chuffed with them, but shouldn’t.