Ringed adult male Greenfinch (Maria Mak)

Recoveries are birds ringed at Rye Meads which are later reported from elsewhere, either found by members of the public or sometimes trapped by other ringers. These can be important for our understanding of where birds go and at what times of the year – although the Blue Tit found long dead in a lorry radiator grille could have died at any time and almost anywhere in the country!

We are notified of around 30-50 recoveries a year, so only about 1% of our birds ringed. Of these, many are short term and local, so tell us little, but some range far and wide, such as the Teal reported from Siberia or the Swallow from South Africa.

Controls are birds ringed elsewhere which we subsequently catch at Rye Meads. We control a lot fewer birds than we get recoveries from those that we ring, but it is always exciting to catch a bird with a strange ring, especially if that ring is from a foreign ringing scheme.

Also included here are the more interesting retraps (birds ringed here and later caught here again). These can also tell us a lot about site loyalty and survival of migrant species.

  • Ringing Review of 2021

    Ringing Review of 2021

    A bad breeding season, no access to Thames Water land, further Covid restrictions... Ringing totals were low, but where were the bright spots?

  • Ringing Review of 2020

    Ringing Review of 2020

    Given the restricted activities due to site closures and social distancing, it's not surprising that the ringing total was low; but there were still some highlights.

  • Ringing review of 2019

    Ringing review of 2019

    Highlights included record annual totals for Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Reed Warbler; and equal record for Tawny Owl.

  • Ringing Review of 2018

    Ringing Review of 2018

    After a challenging year for birds, our ringing totals were the lowest for six years, but we did ring our 141st new species.

  • Pullus ringing does give interesting results

    Pullus ringing does give interesting results

    Toby Spall has long been a dedicated nest-finder and pullus-ringer - you may have read his article in the recent issue of BTO News. But he still finds great pleasure in small rewards from this activity, as he explains here.

  • Ringing review of 2017

    Ringing review of 2017

    Ringing highlights included 10 Little Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes, Nightingale and Tree Pipit, and records for Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff and Goldfinch.