River Wissey Lovell Fuller

COUNTRYSIDE NOTES for November 2019 Record Ages

February 2020

For a century the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) has been recording details of wild birds through attaching identifying rings to their legs. More recently some have been monitored with minute satellite trackers enabling their precise movements to be followed. An article in a recent NarVOS (Nar Valley Ornithological Society) Newsletter highlighted the BTO’s recently published report of UK longevity records for wild birds. Topping the list are five which inhabit our coasts. The record is held by a Manx Shearwater which lived until it was 51, followed by Razorbill at 42, Oystercatchers and a Fulmar at 41 and a Guillemot reached 40. Corvids are also long lived with records of a Rook being 23, a Magpie and a Crow 21 and a Jackdaw and a Raven 18. Even familiar garden birds can live surprisingly long with records of a starling reaching 18, a blackbird 15, a Great Tit 14 and a Blue Tit being over nine. Whenever I research a subject somehow it leads to other things so I looked into pets and domestic animals. The oldest dog documented was ‘Bluey’ an Australian cattle dog who lived until he was 30. The oldest cat was American ‘Crème Puff’ who reached 38. ‘Flopsy’, a wild rabbit in Australia, lived until it was 19. The oldest Guinea Pig was Snowball at nearly 15 and England was home to ‘Hammy’ the Hamster who lived for four and a half years. Also from this country was budgerigar ‘Charlie’ who fell off his perch just short of his 22nd birthday. The oldest parrot officially recorded is ‘Poncho’, a macaw in the States, who is 92 and still going strong. Although there are no papers to verify her age ‘Charlie, another macaw, became Winston Churchill’s pet when he came to office. She acquired a reputation for being foul mouthed and imitated his rants against the Nazis!! She’s believed to be 114 and is still alive. The oldest goldfish recorded was English ‘Tish’ aged 43 who was won as a prize at a funfair! Koi carp are noted for longevity and in Japan ‘Hanoka’ was recorded as being 226. Scientists confirmed her age by her scales. Tortoises are another species. Jonathan lives on St Helena and has reached 187. Britain holds the record for horses with barge horse ‘Billy’ surviving until he was 62, ‘Badger’ and ‘Shayne’ both reached 51 and Shetland cross pony ‘Sugar Puff’ 56. ‘Eeyore’ the donkey made 55 and America’s ‘Suzy’ 54. Irish cow ‘Big Bertha’ almost made 49 and a Welsh sheep 29. Canadian ‘Ernestine’ at 23 was the oldest pig and ‘McGinty’ the oldest goat lived until she was twenty two and a half in England

If you should happen to pick up a dead bird of any species with a leg ring on please report it to the BTO either by logging onto their website or removing the ring and posting it to the BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford IP24 2PU along with the location where it was found.

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