Ringing publications

The online ringing and nest recording report

This online annual ringing report provides summaries of the birds ringed and recovered, by bird recording area, country and for the whole of Britain & Ireland. Nest Record Scheme totals by county and country are also available. The report also includes longevity records, the top five species ringed in each bird recording area and the top five bird recording areas for each species. Reports for 2007-2014 are available as are summaries of all recoveries for each bird recording area. Ringing totals for all species from 1909 to 2014 are also now available. New for 2014 are pages showing the timing of breeding and moult for the 15 most commonly recorded species.

Journals and magazines

Ringing & Migration
The journal of the British Trust for Ornithology Ringing Scheme, which includes papers on all aspects of bird ringing and migration studies as well as the annual ringing report.
Life Cycle is the magazine of the British & Irish Ringing Scheme and the Nest Record Scheme (NRS).

Books and guides

Identification of European Non-Passerines cover
May 2016
This major guide improves on the original by now comprehensively covering 155 species, with descriptions of ageing and sexing methods, moult, biometrics and racial differences. It complements Lars Svensson's Identification Guide to European Passerines, and is an invaluable reference for Bird Ringers, keen birders and feather enthusiasts, alike.
November 2008

Bird Ringing is an ideal training tool for ringers, explaining how and why we ring birds. It contains numerous examples of how ringing has contributed to conservation science and research, and how it helps us understand population changes by providing information on survival and recruitment.

The guide is also a great introduction to bird ringing for non-ringers, not only highlighting the Scheme's successes, but also explaining why we still need to keep ringing today. Full of facts and figures, you can find out about some of the Scheme's record-breakers:

January 2007

Paperback reprint of 1977 edition.

The geographical area covered by the guide comprises the Palaearctic and Nearctic faunal regions. All the species of the families Rostratulidae, Haematopodidae, Ibidorhynchidae, Recurvirostridae, Dromadidae, Burhinidae, Glareolidae, Charadriidae and Scolopacidae regularly breeding within the Holarctic are described in detail.

June 2004

In Time to Fly, the author Dr Jim Flegg OBE, former Director of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and a ringer of over 30,000 birds, captures the magic of migration among the birds in seven familiar habitats. He investigates when, why and how this frenetic activity takes place and the hazards that migrants may encounter on their often prodigious travels.

Identification Guide to European Passerines cover
January 1992

Paperback reprint of 4th edition.

This Ringer's bible is completely revised and updated to include 229 species, with valid subspecies, of passerines regularly occurring in Europe, plus some rare vagrants. Data include wing formulae, measurements, plumage, and other criteria for determining sex and age. It also includes indices of English, Finnish, French, German and Swedish names. It is an invaluable text for any ringer or keen birder.

Moult in Birds cover
January 1983

This book provides essential information on moult strategy passerines and non-passerines that occur in Britain and Ireland, covering the biology behind this facinating process that takes up so much energy and time in the lives of birds. Each species is considered separately, and their full English and Latin names are given, together with the number of primaries, secondaries, and rectrices (tail feathers) to be expected, which helps identify missing feathers in less familiar species.

The Migration Atlas

The Migration Atlas is an amazing stock take of our knowledge of the movements of birds which spend all, or part of, their life in the British Isles.  A fascinating read for everyone and a must for conservation practitioners.

Buy The Migration Atlas from BTO partner NHBS.

Identification for Ringers

by Kenneth Williamson, BTO.

These guides to the identification have long been out of print.  However, as ringers find them useful they are now freely available here as searchable PDFs.  There are three volumes and a key: (PDF, 208.87 KB)

  1. Cettia, Locustella, Acrocephalus and Hippolais (PDF, 2.87 MB)
  2. Phylloscopus (PDF, 3.45 MB)
  3. Sylvia (PDF, 2.72 MB)

We are grateful to Dave Coker who kindly scanned these guides to allow them to be made available on the web.