Ringing and Results

The Ringing and Results posts show details of our ringing and highlight some of the more interesting facts that this has uncovered about our birds.

The Group has since its formation undertaken the safe capture and ringing of both full-grown birds and nestlings. We take biometrics on all the birds we catch; this information can be made available to anyone engaged in genuine scientific research.

We ring our birds in order to find out more about them. We want to know where they go when not at Rye Meads, how long they live, how faithful they are to our site, how their biometrics may change over time, and we need to understand better how to age and sex them, especially those species where the differences are very subtle, like Wrens.

Results from our ringing programme come when birds are caught more than once. This can be as a result of recoveries, controls or retraps.

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!

If you find a ringed bird, you can report it online here.

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.

Birds that are ringed here and later caught here again are referred to as retraps. Whilst many retraps are routine, some can be highly significant - for example, catching a summer visitor that we had ringed the previous summer not only indicates that the bird has survived migrating to winter quarters and back, but that it has chosen to return to the same place the following year.

Only 1-2% of birds ringed are recovered or controlled, so continuing to ring many birds is necessary in order to keep an up to date picture of migration patterns and how they may be changing in the light of environmental and climate changes.

To keep in touch with ringing totals and interesting recoveries and controls throughout the year, you can become a Friend of RMRG and receive our two-monthly Bulletin. This includes details of observations, as well as the latest on our ringing and results. You can join online: see our page Support us for details of how to subscribe.

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