Bird Ringing Scheme
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.
All records of ringed birds are valuable. Find out more about why you should report a ringed bird and how to do so here.
Time / skill required
- 1909 – Ringing began in Britain & Ireland
- 1937 – BTO took over running of the Ringing Scheme
- 1957 – Ringers’ Bulletin launched
- 1965 – First edition of the Ringers’ Manual published
- 1975 – Ringing & Migration journal first published
- 1983 – Constant Effort Scheme (CES) launched
- 1998 – Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) Scheme launched
Contributions & findings
- Winter wren populations show adaptation to local climate
- Flexibility in the timing of post-breeding moult in British passerines
- Latitudinal gradients in the productivity of European migrant warblers have not shifted northwards during a period of climate change
- Integrating demographic data: towards a framework for monitoring wildlife populations at large spatial scales
Licenced ringers can purchase rings, nets and other ringing equipment in the BTO Ringing Sales shop
Online Ringing & Nest Recording Report
Find information on the numbers of birds ringed and reports of ringed birds received.
LifeCycle issue 9, Winter 2020
It also features articles on monitoring Moorhen, Crossbills and Twite, creating a nest recording group, explains what researchers have done with the nests that have been supplied by nest recorders
BTO and COVID-19
BTO statement on participating in surveys during the Coronavirus pandemic (UPDATED 17.01.2022).