Banding or Ringing

©Martin Cade Website

Much of what we know about birds, and most especially migration, has been learnt from studies involving the catching and identification of individual birds. Banding, (in the USA) otherwise known as ringing, (in the UK) is undertaken by amateurs and professionals all over the world at bird observatories, constant effort sites and elsewhere. Love it or loath it, it has undoubtedly made a great contribution to the science of birding.

Looking out for bands can add to your hobby too and there are websites out there just dedicated to sightings of ringed birds. Somewhere on this page there will be just the link you need if you spot a leg-ring and want to know more, or find a banded bird corpse and want to know what you should do next.

Two different conventions exist. There is the general ringing/banding which attached a lightweight metal ring to the leg of a captured bird that is then returned to the originator if the bird is found dead. This has been used to see which populations migrate where, how birds expand territory etc. There are also banding/ringing schemes using colour bands to make it possible to identify different individuals in the field. This has been used to show, for example, that, contrary to what you may believe, you are not getting the same 4 blue-tits at your garden feeders but, over just a few days it may be 70 different individuals!

Useful Reading
  • The Ring THE RING is an international journal dealing with problems of bird ringing, migration and monitoring bird numbers. The main fields of interest are original papers, review articles and methodical discussions. Information, progress reports, personal comments and short notes or news are also accepted to the informative columns of the journal. Although papers are refereed, conclusions, opinions and discussion are published on the author's responsibility. Innovative and even controversial ideas are appreciated. ISBN: Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Bird Ringing The aim of this site is to provide a location for online articles and information for bird ringers and banders and those interested in monitoring of our avifauna through other means such as satellite tagging. It will be the most comprehensive list anywhere in the world for ringers/banders
  • Bird Ringing in Britain & Ireland

    Bird ringing in Britain and Ireland is organised and co-ordinated by the BTO. A network of over 2,400 trained and licensed volunteers currently ring over 800,000 birds every year. On average only one in every 50 birds ringed are subsequently found and reported, so every report of a ringed bird is of value
  • Catalan Ringing Group (Institut Catal

    The Catalan Ringing Group (Grup Catal
  • EURING - The European Union for bird ringing

    Bird ringing? An important technique in ornithology or just a bird watchers hobby? The answer is a fruitful combination of them both. Ringing is a vital tool for scientists, particulary for studying the life histories, population dynamics and movements of birds. Much for the data of this work are gathered by well-trained professional amateurs whose motivation is not money, but the simple privilege of working with birds for the purpose of conservation.
  • European Colour-ring Birding

    European colour-ring Birding is a platform between the field-observer and the project-leader. Therefore it can not provide any details or life-list of your sighting. To get this information, you have to go through this website, find the project-leader and contact her/him.
  • Group of banding bird in Spain

    Birds migration and banding birds in South Spain
  • Highland Ringing Group

    The Highland Ringing Group area is highlighted in green on the map below. We are based in the north of Scotland. Local HRG members are scattered around the Moray Firth coast with a few living in remote straths and glens inland or on the coast. Political boundaries embrace Moray/Nairn, Inverness, Lochaber, Ross-shire, Caithness & Sutherland, Skye & Lochalsh.
  • Inland Banding Asociation

    Inland Bird Banding Association was organized in 1922, in Chicago, Illinois, and in that same year began publishing the scientific work of its members. The organization has continued to grow since 1922 and now supports the largest membership of any bird banding association in America. Inland Bird Banding Association is an organization for all individuals interested in the serious study of birds, their life-history, ecology, and conservation.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gulls Ringing

    This project on Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii is now ongoing in Iceland. Over 1000 birds have been colour-ringed and a 1000 more will be ringed during next two summers. These birds have been seen in Europe, Africa and one recovery has been made from Puerto Rico! We encourage birdwatchers to look for these birds and report them
  • Merseyside Ringing Group - UK

    Members of the group ring wild birds, mostly in the counties of Cheshire, Merseyside, Flintshire and Denbighshire in North West England and North Wales. The main aim of our work is to benefit the birds through science, education and conservation
  • Newbury Ringing Group - Berkshire, UK

    All the members of Newbury Ringing Group are volunteers who are enjoying a constructive hobby and contributing to the national bird ringing scheme organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The scientific aims and results of our efforts are explained together with some of the highlights of our work over the last 30 or so years
  • North American Bird Banding Program [BBP]

    The North American Bird Banding Program [BBP] has for many years been administered by the Bird Banding Laboratory [BBL] at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, in conjunction with the Canadian Bird Banding Office [BBO] in Hull, Quebec. The BBL was transferred from the U.S. Department of the Interior's [DOI] Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] to DOI's newly established National Biological Service [NBS] in November 1993
  • Powdermill Avian Research Center

    Powdermill Nature Reserve is the field biological station of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. The station was established in 1956 through the vision and leadership of then Director of CMNH, Dr. M. Graham Netting
  • Trektellen

    Migration counts and ringing records The Netherlands, Flanders and France
  • Western Bird Banding Association

  • Chew Valley Ringing Station

    Chew Valley Ringing Station is located in North Somerset just north of the Mendip hills on the southwest shore of Chew Valley Lake and on the A368 road midway between Bath and Weston -S- Mare, between the villages of Bishop Sutton and West Harptree
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Birdband

    Mailing List
    Discussion Group and mailing list for bird banders
  • CR-Birding

    Mailing List
    You watch a cr-bird whose scheme is not on the Dirk Raes' Website - Mail your data on the list to get the solution! You launch a cr-scheme? Mail its particulars! If you write in your mother tongue, don't forget to add an English translation in the same mail (English is the default language of this European list).
Other Links
  • Australian Bird and Bat Ringing Scheme

    Guidelines for first time applicants
  • Bird Banders Webring

    This webring serves the purpose of connecting bird banders, banding operations, and other interested ornithologists together on the world-wide web. It is hoped that such a relationship will help to foster the sharing of information as it relates to birds and bird banding, and to help make the websites of different banding operations more accessible to each other, and to those who are interested in what we do, and why.
  • Bird Banding

    he Canadian Bird Banding Office administers all banding projects taking place in Canada, and provides banding and recovery information on request. Bird banding is an important part of the scientific study of wild birds. When a bird has a uniquely numbered leg band, an ornithologist can recognize it as a distinct individual
  • Bird Ringing

    Wikipedia article
  • Colour Mark Recording

    This document describes a standard way of recording colour marks (combinations of colour rings, colour rings with enscriptions, multi-coloured rings, leg flags, neck collars, wing tags, nasal tags and saddles
  • Cormorant Coulour Ringing Projects

    Colour-ringing, or generally speaking colour-marking, is a valuable research tool for a variety of bird studies
  • European Colour Ring Birding

    With the help of Alain Foss
  • Gaviotas y anillas

    Gull observation and Cr-rings
  • How to Report a Federal Bird Band in North America

    If you are not sure of what kind of band you have found
  • Huddleston & Jackson Bird Ringing Partnership

    This Web Site is being created to pass on information from the Huddleston & Jackson Bird Ringing (Banding) Partnership that operates in the York area of the UK. Folks with an interest in Ringing/Banding, or the simply curious will enjoy a visit to the excellent new website.
  • LaB O R I Ng - Passeriformes del Pale

    Guide to West Palearctic Passeriformes [In spanish] for ringers and other birders you can add to.
  • North American Banding Codes

    A [very long] list
  • Ornithology

    A number of relevant articles
  • Reporting encounter of marked bird with metal federal band

    Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory
  • Synergene - Bird Sexing

    Bird sexing is at times very difficult. In some species the colour of plumage or difference in size helps to differentiate between the male and female (dimorphic species) but other species of birds are monomorphic and the males and females look identical. Also even with dimorphic birds, most have to be adults before you can detect differences between the two sexes. Synergene offers fast, reliable and cost effective bird sexing services. Our test is non-surgical and non-invasive and hence guarantees the peace of mind for the health of the bird. Our testing procedure carries accuracy greater than 99.9%+ and all tests are handled at Synergene's state-of-the-art molecular laboratory…
  • Wheatear

    Welcome to Since the Mid 1980s we have been carrying out Ornithological Research on a voluntary basis for the British Trust for Ornithology. This has primarily been through the Nest Records and Ringing Schemes. Since 1997 this has been carried out as part of the Huddleston & Jackson Bird Ringing Partnership operating in the York Area.

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