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Bird Ringing at the British Trust for Ornithology

Main Project Information
Goal Help British researchers understand changes in bird populations
Task Fit small, numbered metal rings on bird legs for tracking.
Where United Kingdom

Bird Ringing at the British Trust for Ornithology is a network of more than 2,500 trained and licensed volunteers in the United Kingdom that ring--or tag--more than 900,000 birds every year.

Bird ringing involves the fitting of small, uniquely numbered metal rings on the legs of birds. By identifying these birds as individuals, researchers can start to understand changes in the survival and movements of bird populations.

Bird ringers come in many types, from individuals working in urban areas to large groups working in a wide geographic area, and can start at any age. Though you definitely don’t need to be a bird expert to ring, it does help if you have some prior bird knowledge. Anyone who wants to participate in the project will need to gain field experience with a qualified trainer.

You’ll no doubt find that ringing is a very satisfying activity. Not only will you be adding to 100 years of data used directly by conservationists, but you will also enjoy the experience of seeing birds close up. Whether you want to train to ring birds in nest boxes, gardens, or a local gravel pit, your contribution is vital to the project's success.

How to Join

If you would like more information about bird ringing or are interested in training to become a bird ringer, please contact:

The Ringing Unit
British Trust for Ornithology
The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, England IP24 2PU
Phone: 01842 750050;
Fax: 01842 750030

Required Gear

The ringing group or trainer will have all the necessary equipment. However, as your training progresses, you will want to buy pliers, rulers, and other related equipment.

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium, At home
Tags birds, ringing, united kingdom
Project Updated 04/22/2017