Have you ever wondered how we know the migratory routes of birds? Where do they come from or where do they go? This is all possible due to bird ringing, a scientific study method of bird populations that consists of individualising the specimens by placing a metal ring with a unique inscription on its leg, all while respecting the animal welfare.

Blue tit being ringed, picture by Ángel Sánchez de Vera

This allows us to study numerous aspects of their biology, and also to answer more questions about multiple aspects of birds lives, such as how old they live, how much they weigh, what differences there are between males and females, changing migratory behaviours, climate change or variations in population sizes between regions. All this information is very valuable to plan integrated systems of protected areas for birds or international projects for their conservation.

One of our ringers measuring a coal tit's feather, by Ángel Sánchez de Vera

And you must be thinking…how does all this data get stored? Bird ringing in Europe is perfectly coordinated thanks to the work carried out by EURING; a data bank that facilitates efficient collaboration between all the ringing centres of the continent.

In the last decade, BTO and RSPB professional experts in bird ringing have ringed a large number of birds at Binn Green feeding station. In an event held on January 18 of this year, our colleagues Steve and Margaret managed to ring more than 70 birds of 11 different species in a couple of hours. The vast majority of them were passerines, with 23 blue tits heading the list.

Results graph with the number of birds ringed on the 18th of Monday 2020: Blue tits (23); goldfinches (20); coal tits (15); great tits (10); siskins and long-tailed tits (3); and blackbird, chaffinch, robin, tree creeper and brambling (1).

At Dove Stone we have recently given people like you the opportunity to participate in this activity, where they have been able to witness first-hand how all these variety of birds get ringed as well as understand better why and how we do it.

Stay tuned for our list of events if you don't want to miss out unforgettable experiences like this one!