A partnership between the Woodland Trust and the National Trust

Mysterious Wood Warblers

Last week I met Dr Malcolm Burgess who is leading a project on Wood Warblers on Dartmoor. The research is trying to establish why there has been such a significant decline in numbers. As part of the project they are mapping Wood Warbler territories near Fingle Bridge. On the day I met Malcolm he had just found a new territory which had not been mapped  and he spent a few moments catching and then ringing the male. It was quite a special process to see, the male Wood Warblers are running high on testosterone and as soon the lure of another male call was played close to the mist net the real male was in the net defending his territory.  This whole process took no more than a couple of minutes, I have spent days in recent weeks trying to trap bats so this was incredible to see that birds were so compliant. To see all this done in a matter of a few minutes was impressive…

The male bird was ringed and various details as to its size etc recorded, it was also necessary to take a wing clipping for “isotopic analysis”  as one of the elements of the project is trying to find from where the wood warblers migrate, perhaps surprisingly  this is not currently fully understood. To find out more visit



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.