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.

  • A review of ringing in 2022

    A review of ringing in 2022

    In 2022 we ringed just under 3,000 birds, well down on our long term average but better than the previous two Covid-impacted years. There were however some records set!

  • A traveller returns

    A traveller returns

    We already know from BTO recoveries that wintering Green Sandpipers in the UK normally breed in Scandinavia, but now we have more specific news of where one of the Rye Meads wintering birds goes to breed. It's even been photographed there!

  • More foreign visitors arriving

    More foreign visitors arriving

    It's always interesting to catch foreign ringed birds for what that can tell us, like these two refugees from wintry weather further east.

  • An update on our rehab Bittern

    An update on our rehab Bittern

    Back in September 2016, a juvenile female Bittern that had been in care after an accident was released at Rye Meads with one of our rings on it. Alan Harris provides the latest news on her story.

  • 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.