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Introduction to Ringing

Why do we ring birds?

Looking at birds through binoculars, watching where they go and counting them can only tell you so much at any point in time. Where do they go and what do they do after you have seen them, you are unlikely to ever know, but being able to mark them as an individual so that they can be identified elsewhere over time can tell us so much more.

The marking of birds whether it is with a metal ring/colour rings or dye/wing tags/satellite tags or geo-locators gives us various ways to study individuals or a species and is a means of finding out more about their lives. The benefits of this tells us much about what they do, when they move, where they move to, migration fly ways, breeding areas, breeding success (or not) and life span, questions that are vital for bird conservation.

The British Trust for Ornithology licenses and runs the ringing scheme in GB, for more information see…..

http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing/ringing-scheme

Bird ringing in Poole Harbour has historically been carried out by the Stour Ringing Group, Chris Reynolds and Alan Bromby (retired).

Various sites have been used over the years, from reed-bed and scrub areas in the north, also inner shore areas and arable crop fields.

Over the last few years the Stour RG have been involved in a Natural England/RSPB joint effort to trap migrating Aquatic warblers (a red data book species),that pass through the harbour. This has enabled us to help monitor these birds across one of the many important aquatic warbler sites in southern England, of which Poole harbour is one.

The harbour is also a nationally and internationally important wintering site for Avocets, as well as for other waders. This year an exciting colour ringing project is about to get underway to monitor these magnificent birds that use the harbour. This will tell us many things about them. What areas they use, do they stay all winter here or use it as a stop-over and then move on?  Where do the birds that winter here breed? Do they return each year?

Bird ringing enables us to answer some of these questions, so, if while birding in or around the harbour, you happen to observe a bird with a ring on its leg and you are able to read it, (address and numbers) or it has colour rings, then please record it, where and when it was seen, identify the species if you can, the circumstances (seen alive, dead, or dying) and send it into the British Trust for Ornithology (B.T.O) http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing/ringing-scheme, not forgetting to include your own name and address,  you will get information on where it was originally ringed and the ringer will know where the bird has gone. In the unfortunate event that you should come across a dead bird that is ringed, then if you are able to read it great, but if not, then remove it if possible, flatten it and post it to the address detailed in the link above

Robert Gifford

Stour Ringing Group.  

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