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Thanks a million…

…says BTO…

…to the 2700 volunteer ringers who contributed to a record total of 1,047,092 ringed birds in Britain & Ireland in 2010 – the first time the million mark has been achieved in a single year and a tremendous boost for bird conservation.

Staff at the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) ringing office have just announced that a record breaking 1,047,092 wild birds were ringed by volunteers in the British & Irish ringing scheme in 2010. The previous record was 935,904 birds ringed in 2009. 

Two birds are competing for the title of the millionth bird ringed in 2010, both were ringed at 2.00pm on 5 December; a Yellowhammer was ringed near Collieston, Aberdeenshire, by the Grampian Ringing Group, and a Coal Tit, was ringed at the same time near Raglan in Gwent. 

Both of these birds were fitted with uniquely numbered rings.

Yellowhammer, ring number L434681, was ringed as part of a project looking at movements of farmland birds. This farmland specialist has declined by 53% over the last twenty-five years qualifying it for Red-listing as a bird of conservation concern.

Dr Gavin Siriwardena, Head of land-use research at the BTO, commented, “Many of our farmland birds have declined because of poor over-winter survival, a fact that we only know from analyses of ringing data. This information has been vital for the design of agri-environment schemes to promote their recovery. It is also crucial that we understand where ‘our’ birds go in the winter, if we are to work out how to promote management that helps them. Ringing gives unique insights into the lives of British birds." 
The Coal Tit, ring number L699732, was one of 57,000 birds ringed in Wales during 2010 and forms an important part of biodiversity monitoring in Wales. Since 1995, Wales has lost almost a fifth of its breeding Coal Tits, with other Welsh woodland specialists following suit, the bird was ringed as part of the ringing scheme’s ongoing monitoring of birds in Wales by David Proll of Ebbw Vale. 

Dr Rob Robinson, Principal Ecologist at the BTO, said,

Jacquie Clark, Head of the Ringing Scheme commented “Everyone can help in this effort by checking any dead birds they find for rings. Every bird found provides an important piece of information that helps us understand how our bird populations are changing.” 

Deborah Procter, JNCC's Senior Monitoring Ecologist said, "Putting the detailed work done by dedicated ringers alongside the massive amount of data that comes from other bird recording schemes, means we have a great combined resource to use. As we try to understand what environmental factors are driving the observed changes in distribution and numbers of a wide range of bird species, it’s the detail that counts.”

4th July 2014