Bird Ringing Scheme

Greenfinch in the hand having its wing measured, by Dawn Balmer

Bird ringing generates information on the survival, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to understand why populations are changing.

Ringing data make a major contribution to the study of population changes and to our understanding of species declines. Bird populations are determined by the number of fledglings raised and the survival of both juveniles and adults.

Whilst ringers collect data on survival, volunteers for the Nest Record Scheme collect information on productivity. The results can be analysed in combination with population trend data, such as that collected through the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey, to determine at which stage of a bird’s life cycle there might be a problem. This enables scientists and conservationists to target appropriate mitigation measures.

Reporting ringed birds

All records of ringed birds are valuable. Find out more about why you should report a ringed bird and how to do so here.

Key information and resources for ringers

Time / skill required

  • It usually takes a year or more, ringing regularly with qualified ringers, to obtain a ringing permit.
  • Basic bird identification skills and reasonable dexterity are required.
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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline


Help us continue our vital surveys

Surveys like the Bird Ringing Scheme are vital. The data they produce help us drive positive change for the UK’s birds.

But increased pressure on funding is putting our surveys and data at risk – which is why we need your support.

Donate today
Ringing Sales

Licenced ringers can purchase rings, nets and other ringing equipment in the BTO Ringing Sales shop

Go to the Ringing Sales Shop

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