My son just got back from a happy week on Hallands Väderö, a small island nature reserve off the southwestern coast of Sweden. It reminds me of my own visit there at about his age and the bird ring I found.
We were staying in Båstad on the mainland for a week, and I remember having a lot of fun despite my parents having a number of violent tearful fights. The worst of them got sparked when I complained about how boring my visit to Hallands Väderö had been: my dad was angry with me for complaining, my mom defended me, and soon they were fighting again — so I thought it was my fault. And the island’s name has remained a sore spot with me since.
But anyway, the bird ring. On the island I found the dry leg of a dead bird on the seashore, soft tissue almost gone, sinews still holding it together, foot still covered with skin. And around the lower leg, an aluminium ring with a series of digits and the name of the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Stupidly, I hung on to that ring for 15-20 years before sending it to the museum. Better late than never, I guess. And they told me that the bird had been a gull that had received the ring on that very island a few weeks before my visit. A data point in the study of the fate of birds.
What about you, Dear Reader — have you ever found a bird ring?