Report on the roller ringing demonstrations in Hungary
During the first half of July, several demonstrative events took place throughout the country.
In Pest county, in the Upper Kiskunság, 44 out of the 100 nest boxes were occupied by breeding rollers. We chose six nest boxes for the demonstration of bird ringing. Some nest boxes were brimming with fledglings, whilst in others the female was still incubating eggs - it was quite a diverse day.
Roller ringing in the Upper Kiskunság (Photo: Katalin Balogh).
The first nestbox only had one large chick in it, as the others have already fledged. The second nestbox contained a brood of young, about 2.5 weeks old chicks.
Unfortunately, we also recorded a dead clutch - which is otherwise not an infrequent phenomenon with rollers - but the cause is yet unknown. During the second half of the event, we’ve encountered 8-10 day-old chicks that were way too young for ringing.
A 10 day-old chick is too small to be ringed (Photo: Katalin Balogh).
In Hajdú-Bihar county, the event was held on the Bihar Plain, in the vicinity of Földes.
Participants had learnt about the roller, and the LIFE project focusing on the conservation of the species. We’ve also held a demonstration of nest box monitoring and ringing activities.
Many of the people have never observed a roller before, and seeing these birds so close up was an exciting experience in itself.
Ringing roller chicks (Photo: András Koczka).
Those who persevered despite the heat of the day got lucky enough to see short-toed eagles, partridges, great bustards, red-footed falcons and lesser grey shrikes, apart from the adult and juvenile rollers, of course.
Group photo of the Hajdú-Bihar ringing demonstration (Photo: András Koczka).
In Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county, about 30 people gathered for the demonstration in the outskirts of Szentistván.
Out of the 5 nest boxes selected for demonstration purposes, we could unfortunately use only 2 , because the rest were predated by stone martens. One of the surviving clutches was about 2 weeks old, an the other contained somewhat older chicks.
Roller ringing in the Mezőség, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county (Photo: Péter Somoskői).
We often come across remains of rhinoceros and stag beetles in the nest boxes, signalling the relative abundance of these species in the region.
A 2.5 weeks old roller chick with a ring on its leg (Photo: Tamás Sándor).
In Csongrád county, near Sándorfalva, we’ve planned to check 4 nest boxes during the field day. The fourth box, however, had a clutch of dead chicks - probably due to heat shock. The 30-odd participants could still see the chicks from the other 3 clutches successfully ringed.
Roller ringing in Csongrád county.
It was obvious how many difficulties the birds face during the breeding season. It is not enough to occupy an appropriate territory with ideal nesting and feeding sites, the success of fledging chicks is strongly affected by other factors such as the weather and predators.