Learn to ring

 

Extracting a bird from net.  Photo by Mark Grantham. 

Extracting a Blackcap.  Photo by Mark Grantham.

Bird ringers come in many guises, from individuals working in urban areas, to large groups working in a wide geographic area and can start at any age. However, under 18s will need to complete a parental consent form which needs to be submitted with their completed application form (there are links to all the necessary forms at the bottom of this page). So depending where you are, you could get involved with ringing seabirds on Scottish islands, owl chicks in nest boxes or catch a huge variety of passage migrants on the coast. Most of your ringing though may involve ringing tits on early in the morning in winter or (even earlier in the morning) warblers in the breeding season.

Most ringers catch birds when they’re at their most active, which is often early in the morning, so sessions starting at,  or before, 5am are commonplace - and ringing sites are rarely accesible by public transport. A good morning’s ringing may take you through to lunchtime, but there’s always the possibility of catching birds coming to roost or even catching at night. 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 enjoying the experience of seeing birds close up. Whether you want to train to ring birds in nest boxes, to ring your garden birds, or to ring everything at your local gravel pit, your contribution is vital.

The ringing process involves much more than you might imagine, preparation and planning to catch and ring birds is essential. Habitat management at ringing sites, maintenance of equipment and stocking winter feeding stations are all essential jobs. Most trainers and groups share chores with everyone getting involved.  There is a lot to do and it will take up a lot of time.

For more information go to Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Parental consent form (pdf)