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Сергей Важов кольцует птенца грифа. Фото Р. Бекмансурова.

    What is Bird Ringing?

      Bird ringing or bird banding is a technique used in the study of wild birds, by fitting a small, individually numbered, metal or plastic ring to their legs. Beside the letter or numeric code, ring has some information about organization, city or country. Data about the bird (species, age, sometimes sex), the ring code and date of ringing are registered and input in the database. Thus, the ring is a specific password of the bird, which provides the studies of various aspects of the bird’s life by the ability to re-find the same individual later.

      Why are Birds Ringed?

      Ringing is conducted to study the biology of birds: the ways and duration of their migration, longevity, mortality, population studies, such as age structure, population size, territoriality, survival and reproduction rate, the behavioral characteristics of individuals. It also helps to address the problem of bird conservation.

      Short History and Geography of Bird Ringing.Тетеревятник. Фото Р. Бекмансурова.

      According to Smithsonian Magazine bird ringing for scientific purposes started in 1889, when a Danish schoolteacher Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen released 165 young Starlings that were fitted with metal rings engraved with successive numbers and a return address. Today more than 50 countries are involved in the bird ringing. In Europe these activities are organized by national ringing centres in each country, co-ordinated by the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING).

      In our country the bird ringing was started in 1892? But it was developed in large scales only after revolution. Bird ringing was performed by scientific institutes, nature reserves, associations of hunters and individuals that was co-ordinated by the Ringing Centre of the USSR. A total of 170-200 thousand birds were ringed every year.

      Now in our country the Russian Ringing Centre co-ordinates the bird ringing and issues rings as well. Standard ring is made of aluminum or steel, engraved with a word “MOSKVA”, alpha code of the series and a successive number.

      What are the rings for birds?

      Aluminum rings are generally used worldwide. They are durable, tightly fitted to the bird leg and less sensitive to birds, especially during the cold season. The rings made of stainless steel are used less. Кольца на орлов It is believed that such rings should not be used for birds that remain to winter in cold countries. At the same time a ring of stainless steel are reasonable to mark the birds that live in salt water, causing corrosion of other metals. Aluminum and steel rings are engraved with series, number, and information about the country. Their main shortcoming is that you can read the information on the ring only when the bird has been recaptured alive or found dead. Therefore, the percentage of ring recoveries is small. Painting in black the code engraved on the ring allows seeing it on a live bird from a distance, or taking a picture using a telescope.

      Colour rings have been used in the world already for several years. Alpha-numeric codes are made in different colors on these rings. Colour rings allow us to see codes of the ring, watching and photographing birds from a distance. In addition, an additional colour ring, showing the year when the bird was marked, is fitted as well. Сolours of the rings for some years has been established by the C.O.M. (Confederation Ornithologique Mondiale) protocol.

      The rings according to the C.O.M. protocol::Цветные пластиковые кольца

      2008 dark blue

      2009 violet

      2010 orange

      2011 dark blue

      2012 red

      2013 black

      2014 light green

      At the same time, fro ringing of birds of prey the national ringing schemes use different colour combinations for different years, and for different species as well. Unfortunately now the colour combinations are clear only for some professionals that is a definite disadvantage in the bird ringing.

      Who may ring birds?

      In Europe there is a special system licensing the bird ringing. The applicant, who wishes to participate in the ringing of birds, must pass the appropriate examinations and obtain a special license for bird ringing. In our country, traditionally professionals pass on their experience of ringing to beginners directly in the field during the ringing of birds.

      Is the bird ringing safe? Some rules for ringing of the birds of prey.

      Bird ringing is carried out throughout the world for over 100 years and is considered as the least traumatic way of marking the birds with proper choice of the ring for a particular bird and respect for the bird while it is ringing. Since birds of prey are often ringed as chicks in nests,Минимальный возраст для кольцевания птенцов - начало их оперения. Птенцы орлана. Фото Р. Бекмансурова.ringers should follow certain rules visiting the nest, so as not to devastate it. First, make sure that the chicks in the nest are the age that is suitable for ringing. The birds incubating eggs should not be disturbed at all. It is dangerous to approach to the nest, when fledglings may jump from the nest, cripple and die. You should not visit the nest when the weather is bad (rain, snowfall etc.). The ringer must be sure that his manipulations performed at the nest does not cause any damage on the nest, offspring, and the parents. The researcher should handle the chicks with caution during the ring fitting. The ring should not be contorted to fit the tarsus. When attaching the ring, the ringer should be careful not to damage the bird’s leg.

      More then bird ringing techniques are described in the chapter “Methods of handling and banding birds” (in Russian) of the “Wild birds and avian influenza” (in Russian) and in the chapter “Marking Techniques” of the “Raptor Research and Management Techniques”.

      The rules of personal hygiene during the ringing of birds of prey.

      The researcher should be aware that contact with the bird, nest and remains of prey in the nest might be the cause of infections. Therefore, it is desirable to visit the nest in special working clothes to prevent inflicting wounds or scratches during manipulations on the nest. It is important to handle the bird so that it is not caused injury the researcher. After visiting the nest the ringer must wash his hands, and sometimes the face with soap and water. Possible bruises and wounds on the skin should be treated with antiseptics.

      Окольцованный балобан. Фото И. Карякина.How and to whom report a bird with rings or only ring found?

      Traditionally, all information on all birds ringed or ring recoveries is submitted to the national centers that have a database of ringed birds in the country, as well as contacts with foreign ringing centers for data exchange.

      At the same time the system of bird ringing is still closed, and the system of databases maintaining is obsolete, and sometimes information about recoveries has to be waited for months, and observations of live ringed birds taken, for examples, by photographers, do not input into the databases at all.

      To correct this situation the RRRCN develops the web-GIS project, in which all information about birds of prey ringed and their records is available on-line. You can receive information about the marked birds of prey, as well as upload information about the marking of birds of prey to the database.

      If you are a ringer and want to join the project – click here to inform coordinator about it >>>

      To add data on ringing fill in the form on-line >>> or in Excel format and upload it to the site. Form of bird ringing >>> Upload >>>

      If you want to report a raptor with ring encountered or a ring found, you must fill in the recovery form on-line >>> For coordinators, collecting information about the marked raptors encountered during the year, the recovery form is available in the Excel format >>> Upload >>>

      We expect from all interested persons– photographers, birdwatchers, bird amateurs and ornithologists information on observations of marked raptors and will be happy to respond promptly to your questions. In our database, you can get information about ringed raptors, and observations of marked raptors.

      We wish you every success in the observation of birds of prey!

      If you got a ring or a tag of any bird, including other groups of birds, you can become one of the compilers of the national database on ringing. To do this, use the forum and on-line form for report about the ring, or the tag. After the processing of information the data about the bird species, place and date of ringing will be emailed you. All the information about the rings, we send to the Russian Ringing Centre, so even if you tell about the ring, which was fitted to not only the birds of prey, this information will not be lost, and find its destination.


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Raptors conservation


OUTCOMES of the II International Scientific anp Practical Conference “Eagles of Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Орлы Палеарктики: изучение и охрана

OUTCOMES of the II International Scientific Conference “Eagles Palaearctics: Study and Conservation”, held from 7 to 10 September 2018 in Katun vill. (Altai Kray, Russia), have been prepared.

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Пернатые хищники и их охрана 38

Raptors Conservation 38

The new issue of the Raptors Conservation Journal №38 has been published. The issue contains the Proceedings of the II International Scientific Conference “Eagles of Palearctic: Study and Conservation”.

Орлы Палеарктики: изучение и охрана

Reports presented on the II International Scientific and Practical Conference ‘Eagles of Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Reports presented on the II International Scientific and Practical Conference ‘Eagles of Palearctic: Study and Conservation” (Park-Hotel Lake Aya, Katun village, Altai Kray, Russia, 7-10 September 2018).

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