Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 7 votes, 4.29 average.
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 07:25   #1
bristolbirder
Registered User
 
bristolbirder's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: bristol, u.k.
Posts: 461
How long do birds live for?

Obviously a lot longer than some of us would believe.

Take a look at this from the Independent:-


Many of Britain's birds are living for more than 30 years - far longer than was previously thought, ornithologists have discovered.

Some birds caught last year have been alive for a third longer than expected for their species. And others, still alive, may have hatched before the system of putting rings on birds' legs began in 1909.

Experts think the spate of record-breaking last year is largely due to better rings, but climate change could also be stretching birds' life spans.

An oystercatcher, one of Britain's most familiar waders, has been found aged 35, older than the seven supporters of the British Trust for Ornithology who caught it in Lincolnshire last summer.

A whooper swan, a winter visitor from Iceland, was caught near Caerlaverock in south-west Scotland aged 22 years and six months - smashing the whooper longevity record by seven years.

And a Leach's petrel has been found in the Western Isles almost 30 years after it was first ringed, making it almost eight years older than the oldest petrel previously found. It will have flown at least 330,000 miles on its migration from southern Africa in those years - not counting the miles it flies while fishing each day.

The new records were uncovered during the trust's annual ringing survey, when 1,730 ornithologists and volunteers trapped nearly 800,000 birds to record the data carried on their leg rings.

Several records for individual species were broken this year. In Scotland, a buzzard, Britain's most common hawk, was found to have lived for 24 years and three months, a modest increase in the previous record of 22 years and six months.

A bar-tailed godwit was found aged 30 years and three months - a four-year jump on the last figure. Cuckoos, the trust found, could live for at least seven years - another four-year increase on the earlier record. Skylarks can survive to nine years old, and house martins to seven years.

The findings have confirmed the suspicion that many common birds live longer than we realise. Experts believe that seabirds such as the gannet could live to be 100. Some Manx shearwaters ringed in 1953 are still alive.

The new records were mainly down to the more durable rings attached to birds' legs, which are less likely to fall off, said Graham Appleton, a press officer at the trust. Ringing is also better organised, so ringed birds are more likely to be found and any worn-out rings replaced.

The work is crucial, he said, to understanding why birds such as the house sparrow and starling are in such steep decline. "We've now got much better estimates of the survival rates of birds, and that's important because we need to know how long the average bird survives to know whether their numbers are going up or down," he said.

However, Britain's milder climate in recent years will also improve a bird's chances of survival, the trust suspects. Warmer winters and longer summers will lower the chances that migratory birds, such as whooper swan, petrel and oystercatcher, are killed by storms or the cold.

Buzzard (Buteo buteo). Britain's commonest bird of prey, it has large, rounded wings and a stubby body, and favours uplands and farmland. It lives across Britain, but winters in eastern England
New record: 24 years, three months, 28 days
Old record: 22 years, six months, 12 days
Ringed and recaptured: Dumfries & Galloway
Air miles: Not migratory

Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus). A large swan, with a yellow "flash" on its black beak
New record: 22 years, six months, 15 days
Old record: 15 years, nine months, 21 days
Ringed: Dumfries & Galloway
Recaptured: Iceland
Air miles: 53,000

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus). Black and white wader
New record: 35 years, 25 days
Old record: 32 years, 11 months, 19 days
Ringed: Norfolk Recaptured: Lincolnshire
Air miles: 98,000

Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica). A long-billed and long-legged wader
New record: 30 years, three months, seven days
Old record: 26 years, three months, 29 days
Ringed and recaptured: Norfolk
Air miles: 192,000
bristolbirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:14   #2
Euan Buchan
The Edinburgh Birdwatcher
 
Euan Buchan's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Edinburgh UK
Posts: 3,304
Interesting I think they live up to 30 years but they can die early from windows geting shot etc I did read somewhere that it could be 30 years so you could be right
__________________
Euan Is The Edinburgh Birdwatcher

http://www.theedinburghbirdwatcher.zoomshare.com
Euan Buchan is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:36   #3
helenh
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 289
A neat loop back to the "Conservation" thread. It highlights just how important it is to conserve as much of our native habitat as we can. If we don't know how long birds live then we can't accurately assess the impact of habitat destruction on their populations. We could wake up one day and find that we've driven them to extirpation (or even extinction) because we didn't notice their decline.
helenh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:47   #4
Mike D
Hare today - gone tomorrow!

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Norwich
Posts: 272
I remember reading back in the 60s of a 'tame' duck celebrating it's 42nd birthday. So given favourable conditions wild ducks could possibly hope to do the same.
Mike D is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 08:54   #5
Jane Turner
Registered User
 
Jane Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Hoylake, Merseyside
Posts: 21,912
Swift is the amost amazing one... I believe the record is around 30 years and the air miles must be staggering.
Jane Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 11:31   #6
Michael Frankis
conehead
 
Michael Frankis's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: .
Posts: 6,794
Manx Shearwaters alive in 2003

Copeland, ringed 1953
http://website.lineone.net/~kmandjs/recent.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3032326.stm

Bardsey Island, ringed 1957
http://www.bbfo.org.uk/who.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/2976141.stm

Both were ringed as adults, so were probably at least 5 years old already (and who knows how many more!) when ringed

Michael
Michael Frankis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 12:53   #7
helenol

 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,748
Interesting article about this on this mornings "Today" programme on Radio Four.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/li...s_20040105.ram
helenol is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 21:46   #8
Denis J
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Durham
Posts: 343
I seem to remember reading somewhere that Winston Churchills parrot is still alive If I remember correctly he bought it before the second world war and when he died his family returned it to the original owners who still have it its 102 I think
Denis J is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 22:41   #9
jpoyner
Registered User
 
jpoyner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Nethybridge, Strathspey
Posts: 1,536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis J
I seem to remember reading somewhere that Winston Churchills parrot is still alive If I remember correctly he bought it before the second world war and when he died his family returned it to the original owners who still have it its 102 I think
Wonder if it talks? "We will fight them.....on the....SQUARK"

jpoyner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 5th January 2004, 22:48   #10
Denis J
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Durham
Posts: 343
Just looked it up its 103 Called Charlie the curser and its favorite 2 lines are F*** the nazi's and F*** Hitler ..Winston must have had some time on his hands to teach it that!
Denis J is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 06:42   #11
alan_rymer
Registered User
 
alan_rymer's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Woodley, Berkshire
Posts: 4,042
This subject was discussed some time back on UK.REC.BIRDWATCHING.
Like humans, its not the norm to live for a great length of time. the avaerage bird "Life" is much much less when you take into account chick mortality, predators, winter weather and sickness.
below is link to one of the longevity discussions on postings on UK.REC.BIRDWATCHING. The posting prior to the one you arive at give a list of Maximum age at the time of the posting.

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e....nl%26rnum%3D4
__________________
Alan

Its not an optical illusion!. It just looks like one!.
Latest Life bird: Wryneck,Local year list: 3rd Oct. Black Tern
alan_rymer is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 07:34   #12
bristolbirder
Registered User
 
bristolbirder's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: bristol, u.k.
Posts: 461
...........and a Happy New year to you as well Spar and to all other BirdForum readers.

Whilst the longevity of birds is interesting enough perhaps we should be more concerned at the AVERAGE life span. I'm sure I read somewhere that the average life span of a Blue Tit is only 18 months. If this is true of most of our smaller garden birds then the obvious conclusion is that they would only get one opportunity to breed. Even more incentive to give them all the help we can!
bristolbirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 08:49   #13
alan_rymer
Registered User
 
alan_rymer's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Woodley, Berkshire
Posts: 4,042
I would have thought once a Blue Tit suvived to its first Breeding season it was more likely to survive well beyond the BT average lifespan, I am guessing that at least 80% of chicks, perhaps more, don't make it through the first winter!.
__________________
Alan

Its not an optical illusion!. It just looks like one!.
Latest Life bird: Wryneck,Local year list: 3rd Oct. Black Tern
alan_rymer is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 12:58   #14
birdman
Орнитолог-любитель
 
birdman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Doncaster, UK
Posts: 5,428
I agree, Alan, and it would be interesting to know the average age of Blue Tits and such small birds, once they have survived the first winter/breeding season.

Taking Michael Fs info from above, it is not unreasonble to infer that 50 years for Manx Shearwaters, whilst elderly, might not be extreme - ad 40 might be positively "middle-aged"?

Other factors, as have been previously mentioned, may skew any figures; a particularly harsh winter would have a devastating effect on Wren numbers, so a survey shortly after a harsh winter would likely indicate a young population, whereas after a series of mild winters (and fruitful summers) an older population might be indicated.

Is there any indication of this in the link you gave, Alan?

Perhaps there is. Although I admit I am choosing my data carefully, the "Maximum" age of Hoopoes and Black Redstarts is given as 2 years.

Whilst the survey is "International", the birds listed are all British birds - to the extent that there are no particular rarities.

So... and I am making a BIG assumption here, if this international survey is largely a British survey, then Hoopoe and Black Redstart are at the climatically cooler edge of their range, and would be susceptible to weather-related causes of death.

Conversely, the House Sparrow (also generally widespread) but obviously adapted to British climes, is recorded as having a maximum age of 11... or 5 and a half times that if the similar sized (a bit bigger) Black Redstart.

Maybe there are one or two too many leaps of faith their, but I tend to agree that birds may well, given the opportunity, be more long-lived than we expect.
birdman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 14:00   #15
alan_rymer
Registered User
 
alan_rymer's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Woodley, Berkshire
Posts: 4,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman
I agree, Alan, and it would be interesting to know the average age of Blue Tits and such small birds, once they have survived the first winter/breeding season.

Other factors, as have been previously mentioned, may skew any figures; a particularly harsh winter would have a devastating effect on Wren numbers, so a survey shortly after a harsh winter would likely indicate a young population, whereas after a series of mild winters (and fruitful summers) an older population might be indicated.

Is there any indication of this in the link you gave, Alan?

Perhaps there is. Although I admit I am choosing my data carefully, the "Maximum" age of Hoopoes and Black Redstarts is given as 2 years.

Whilst the survey is "International", the birds listed are all British birds - to the extent that there are no particular rarities.

So... and I am making a BIG assumption here, if this international survey is largely a British survey, then Hoopoe and Black Redstart are at the climatically cooler edge of their range, and would be susceptible to weather-related causes of death.

Conversely, the House Sparrow (also generally widespread) but obviously adapted to British climes, is recorded as having a maximum age of 11... or 5 and a half times that if the similar sized (a bit bigger) Black Redstart.

Maybe there are one or two too many leaps of faith their, but I tend to agree that birds may well, given the opportunity, be more long-lived than we expect.
At the time there was doubt about the age of the Hoopoe, can't remember the Black Resdstart being mentioned, but there was also doubts about the Barn Swallow I think too. If I get the time I may do a little more searching on rec.uk.birdwatching. .

This from the late Chris Mead on Starling Longevity:

The concept of average age makes little sense with birds as they die
off rapidly from the egg. We tend to die off much later so average
age in Humans is a worthwhile concept. With Stalings I would expect
7-% of fledglings to die before the next breeding season. Half (or
slightly less) of the remainder to die ub the bext year and so on.
This means a three year old will not be too rare. a five year old a
bit unusual and a ten year old VERY exceptional. Oldest ringed bird
is 20 (I am not so sure I believe it but it is not far out).
__________________
Alan

Its not an optical illusion!. It just looks like one!.
Latest Life bird: Wryneck,Local year list: 3rd Oct. Black Tern
alan_rymer is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2004 2005
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 22:00   #16
Michael Frankis
conehead
 
Michael Frankis's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: .
Posts: 6,794
Of Winston Churchill's parrot - this came up a while back on UKBirdNet, and it was pointed out that the claims regarding its age were untrue. Can't remember the exact details of why, unfortunately.

Michael
Michael Frankis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 30th August 2006, 20:56   #17
stevetb
Registered user
 
stevetb's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: England
Posts: 2,809
the oldest blue tit was 25! thats incredible for such a small bird.
stevetb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 31st August 2006, 20:56   #18
James Blake
chasing the shadow of a lowskimming gull
 
James Blake's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 713
I find it interesting that the maximum age for birds tends to be far more than for mammals of the same size. Don't know if it's known why this is.

James
__________________
When the noon hour sets in
And the birds have settled down
The mighty forest itself murmurs:
How delightful that appears to me!
attributed to the Buddha
James Blake is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2005
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Thursday 31st August 2006, 21:14   #19
danehower
Forum Member

 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 3,547
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis J
Just looked it up its 103 Called Charlie the curser and its favorite 2 lines are F*** the nazi's and F*** Hitler ..Winston must have had some time on his hands to teach it that!
- Now I would have paid money to see that . I wonder if Charlie's longevity can be attrributed to the liberal amounts of fine whiskey that Churchhill accidentaly spilled in his water bowl .
danehower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st September 2006, 10:25   #20
pianoman
duck and diver, bobolink and weaver
 
pianoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Greystones, Ireland
Posts: 919
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blake
I find it interesting that the maximum age for birds tends to be far more than for mammals of the same size. Don't know if it's known why this is.

James
Yes, and it seems the equations relating the lifespan of mammals to their size and metabolic rate don't seem to hold for birds. And I believe that bats are also exceptions in the mammal world in that they live much longer than their metabolic rate would indicate, apparently:

http://www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/PDRSu...%20lifespan%22
pianoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 2nd September 2006, 01:28   #21
chippingsparrow
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Town of New Tecumseth, north of GTA (Greater Toronto Area)
Posts: 46
Post

[quote=bristolbirder]Obviously a lot longer than some of us would believe.

I thought this information I can across recently on Ospreys was very interesting:

"According to the most recent estimates, about half of young Ospreys die in the first year; the mortality rate in subsequent years is between 16 and 19 percent. Available banding data (20,000 individuals have been banded in the last 60 years), indicates that Ospreys can live for 15 to 20 years; however, some individuals have lived much longer. The longevity record for the species is held by a banded bird that died, probably from a bullet, at age 35. Unfortunately, we donít know whether this individual had bred every year up to its death. The greatest recorded number of breeding seasons for a single bird is 23."
chippingsparrow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chicks wiped out (AGAIN) Jeff Taylor Birds & Birding 66 Tuesday 26th June 2007 14:02
Portugal 1999 trip report Reader Vacational Trip Reports 6 Monday 14th August 2006 14:39
Foxglove Covert, N. Yorkshire - a day out ringing birds. IanF Your Birding Day 4 Friday 27th February 2004 20:12
Spain, Costa del Sol, trip report 2002 Reader Vacational Trip Reports 3 Thursday 22nd May 2003 12:47
Parliament debates Wild Birds shock peter hayes Birds & Birding 28 Tuesday 18th February 2003 09:23

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25929093 seconds with 30 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 03:43.