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.
The earliest records of bird-ringing in Glamorgan date back to about 1912, shortly after organised ringing in Britain had been initiated by H.F. Witherby in 1909. We currently have 12 or so ringers resident in the county. Much of their activity is based around gardens, although ringing sessions are regularly held at around 10 other locations, including: Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve; Flat Holm Island; Forest Farm – Whitchurch; Kenfig NNR and at Ty’n-y-Caeau Farm near Marcross (as part of the Glamorgan Bird Club’s ‘Tree Sparrow and Farmland Birds Project’).
Though you definitely don’t need to be a bird expert to ring, it does help if you have some prior bird knowledge. But, what you will need is commitment. The skills required can only be learnt by practice under the close supervision of experienced ringers. Typically the apprenticeship period is one or two years.
But don’t let that put you off. If you’ve got what it takes the rewards can be great. You’ll be contributing to our knowledge of birds and, we’ve been reliably informed, ringing can become addictive – even a way of life!
It would be great to have more ringers in the county. For more information about where to begin please click here.