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What to do if you find a bird ring

Tim Scoones Tim Scoones | 18:27 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009

If you recover a dead bird that has a ring on its leg or if you find a bird ring on its own, there are a number of things you can do to help research and learn more about where the bird could have come from:

  • Probably the simplest thing is to go to the ringing website. Here you can enter all the ring's information and an email will be sent to you with all the known information about the individual bird where the ring came from
  • You could also remove the ring from the foot of a dead, ringed bird and send it to the British Trust for Ornithology (at: BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU) with the location from where the bird was found
  • Or alternatively, give the BTO a call on 01842 750050

Every bit of information the BTO receive will be used for research and stored for future science. Check out the BTO website for more information about what they do.


  • 1. At 5:44pm on 11 Oct 2009, luke0988 wrote:

    There are also some Ringing schemes abroad such as the colour ringing of gulls. I live in Weymouth and work at RSPB Radipole Lake and I regularly see gulls with brightly coloured rings with bold lettering. I then send this number to the relevent person (found through the use of this website: www.cr-birding.be) and find out its life history and where is was ringed. This afternoon I found a mediterranean gull with a green ring which said R13U. I sent this to a person in France and found out that it was ringed in Paris on the 15th June 2009 and has since been seen in Manche, France (06/08) and now at RSPB Radipole in Weymouth (11/10). Its Fascinating stuff and helps alot of people with their reserch. Try it!!

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  • 2. At 1:52pm on 14 Oct 2009, belora wrote:

    Thanks for pointing this out. We colour ring Mediterranean gulls. It is an international project with more than 11 participating countries (including Great Britain and Ireland)and hundreds of dedicated ring readers who report from both breeding and wintering grounds. These birds are long lived and many individuals have been reported more than a hundred times on their migrations across Europe. They are unusual in that they remain in Europe migrating largely on an east-west axis. They are also one of the most beautiful gulls. The long term project depends upon sightings from interested members of public and the team is mindful and grateful for their dedication. Thanks.

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