Health & Safety

Ringers should not put themselves in a position that would place themselves, or others, in danger. The BTO does not take any responsibility or liability for any actions and subsequent consequences from the activities of ringers.

BTO has produced general guidance relating to health safety for all BTO fieldworkers. This page includes information on access permissions, visiting nests, diseases and working in remote areas.


BTO carries insurance for liabilities to third parties for loss, damage or injury, and can provide written confirmation for any landowner requesting it - our

. This does not however cover loss, damage or injury to volunteers and their helpers. Full policy details can be obtained on request by emailing [at]



Two leaflets that are particularly relevant to ringers are available below.


Occasionally, bird ringers might accidentally catch bats in mist nets. A small number of bats in the UK have been found to carry a form of rabies. More information about the risks, and action to take if bitten or scratched by a bat, can be found on the bats and rabies page.

Avian Influenza

Ringers may also be impacted by outbreaks of Avian Influenza in commercial premises when temporary ringing suspensions may be put in place. Ringers will be informed when suspensions are in operation.

Please note: this is not relevant to the current outbreak of AI in wild birds. Please refer to this page for additional guidance relating to that outbreak and to the general health and safety page for guidance information for fieldworkers.

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