Become a bird ringer
Why ring birds?
Ringing is a tool for monitoring and observation of wild bird populations. It makes it possible to study migration and demographics. This technique was used for the first time in 1899 by a Danish teacher named Ch. Mortensen. The initial aim was to find out where European breeding birds did spend the winter. This objective is still valid today!
Ringing is not only essential from a scientific point of view but also from a legal point of view since laws and regulations that ensure the conservation of wild birds in Europe are based on objective data to define the rules governing their protection, management and regulation.
Furthermore, ringing of birds gives the opportunity, at the same time, to take samples that allow, for example, to study the dispersal of pathogens (influenza, West Nile, Newcastle), the concentrations of pollutants (heavy metals, pesticides) and genetic relationships (reproductive strategies, taxonomy, hybrids).
Ringing Centers are hosted in scientific institutions. They operate in a network for over 100 years and exchange daily information about ringed and recovered (which means found after having been ringed) birds. Since 1963, all the European Ringing Centers operate under the coordination of EURING. EURING provides among others the consistency of data coding, organises a one-stop access to data recovery in Europe and develops pan-European research programs. In Belgium, the Ringing Center goes under the name BeBirds.
How to become a ringer?
To ring wild birds requires extensive knowledge in identification and behaviour. The certification process takes at least 4 years. See website BeBirds to learn more about the process!
Ringers always work in teams; there are 51 ringing groups totalizing around 350 ringers. These are distributed throughout Belgium but with a lower coverage in Western Ardennes, in Hainaut and Gaume.
Have you found a ringed bird?
Each finding is important ! If you find a ringed bird, thank you to let BeBirds know. We will send you a recovery sheet compiling all available data about the bird in question.