The MAM index   Leave a comment

I suppose the real measure of success of a ringing trip would be whether it contributes to the science of ornithology; was some significant data collected, was one of the birds ringed subsequently re-trapped or recovered and so on. But all of these criteria will only be realised in the future, to all intents and purposes the success of any individual trip comes down to whether a reasonable number of birds were ringed or not, ie was it worth getting out of bed at some unspeakable hour for?

Bearing in mind that this index purely a bit of fun between the group members and has no significance what so ever, Ian Alexander proposed that a successful ringing trip was where the number of birds ringed was equal or greater than the number of ringers present times the number of nets erected. He later modified this by adding ten to this total which became known as the Modified Alexander Minimum Index or MAM index, that is MAM = 10+(a x b) where a = number of ringers present and b = number of nets in use.


On the  night of the 17th we had a go at ringing waders and wildfowl at Lytchett Bay, but after three hours all we caught was this female Teal. 7 ringers, 11 nets, 1 bird – MAM index of 0.01


Dawn at Durlston with aircraft contrails backlit by the rising sun. That day three of us using four nets ringed 22 birds, a MAM index of exactly 1. On one of the busiest days this autumn I got a MAM index of over 18.


Of course this ‘bit of fun’ doesn’t take into account the duration of the ringing session, the quality of the birds handled or the scientific data gathered. Most ringers would rather handle Lesser Redpolls than Blue Tits ….


.. and the same can be said of the Linnets we ringed the same day. As I said above the MAM index is not to be taken seriously.

Incidentally no sooner had I completed the last post about ringing recoveries then a bunch more arrived. I’ll get round to entering those in due course.

Posted November 21, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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