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Bird ringing - please help me get involved (1 Viewer)

Hi guys, could anyone give me any information or guidance on how I may be able to become involved in ringing birds?
I have been emailing the BTO for a couple of months now regarding this and the response I have generally been getting is that there are currently no trainers in my local area taking on trainees.
I am finding this incredibly frustrating as bird ringing is something that I am really keen to get involved in and something with I feel I could have a lot to offer.
Do any other organisations participate in bird ringing? (I know the RSPB don't).
Are any of you trainers looking for trainees or know any trainers that are?
Any support or guidance you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.
I live in Orpington so any information from around the SE London or North West Kent area would be ideal however I would be prepared to travel a reasonable distance.

Cheers, Jamie

chris butterworth

aka The Person Named Above
If there is no-one locally available to train you ( and they have to be BTO accredited trainers for you to get your licence ) and you will consider travelling then you should have a lot of choices. With Essex to the north ( waders, ducks and geese ) and Portland ( passerines ) to the west there should be at least one trainer available.

Thanks for your responses guys. The ringing I would prefer to get involved with would be of passerines and Portland bird observatory is over 160 miles from where I live, therefore isn't a viable option.
I would obviously need to regularly visit a certain location or area to begin training but according to the BTO site there are no trainers in or around my area looking for trainees at the moment.
Once I am able to fully participate in bird ringing then I would happily travel to Dorset and other parts of the country occasionally to gain more experience and deal with different birds.
Thanks for your reply K.
Its interesting to see I'm not the only person encountering this problem.
I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit to become involved with ringing and if I receive any useful info I will let you know.

All the best,

I have checked it out online but haven't visited it personally yet Andy. This is a more realistic option but is still over 70 miles from where I live so as a potential trainee it may be difficult for me to get there on a regular basis due to other commitments etc.
Ill give them an email and ask if they have any advice and who knows, if I can't find anything more convenient or suitable I might even look into learning to ring there.
Are you involved with ringing Andy? If so as your profile says your from Medway do you know of any other relatively local Kent or London based people or places I could contact?


Well-known member
That's why I mentioned SBBO. I couldn't get a local ringer after loads of emails to and from the BTO. I then pushed it slightly further afield and was taken on as a trainee at SBBO. It's a great set up, the trainers are great and they organise plenty of variety (passerines around the Obs, waders, gulls and I even went on a specific jaunt to catch Grey Wagtail). It was just too far for me to commit, so I ended up fading out which was a real shame. My annual T permit just passed over for renewal, but as I don't have the time to get down there, i let it expire.


Andy M.
That's the problem I'm having as well Andy. I often don't even get a response from the BTO which is very frustrating.
Its such a shame that enthusiastic and willing people are missing out due to where they live.
If I come across anything more local I'll let you know Andy.
Thanks for the response and advice anyway.

All the best,



You could try getting in touch with the Dratford RG, but I see their website has disappeared so not sure what the status there is at present - what alas needs to be taken into account is all trainers are volunteers, so some might not be active and some may have their capacity full - it is a difficult area, you can have a lot of trainees and have sessions with lots of people there who get to learn too little as the spread of birds is not there, and therefore development is long and slow, or you may take a couple who will get more training and develop quicker, it is a difficult balance between nos and capcity, so some will be taking current trainees through the basics and getting them to a suitable level before being open up to new recruits.

The point re travelling, to develop you need to be available with some frequency, travelling on top of the general commitment to training, can be disadvantage for yourself, so good luck with trying to find someone localish to you. It takes a real lot of commitment to travle far and train.

There does seem to be a lack of people availbale near to you though, looking at the online trainer list on the BTO website

Best of luck.


I have made contact with the Dartford RG, one trainer is not taking on new trainees, but potentially it appears the other maynot be either, but await confirmation.

There is a benefit with SBBO - you can stay there and ring to your harts content........

John Morgan

Well-known member
Perhaps the best bet is to try and access the BTO's list of registered trainers and make a personal approach to those living near to you. It may be the case they have told the BTO they have a full slate of trainees, yet there may in fact be possibilities for you to make the initial steps as a "helper" with one of them. Issue of a training permit is not necessary for this category of assistance, and once you have your feet under the table ... ;)
Thanks for your feedback guys. I have emailed the Dartford ringing group and am currently awaiting a response. I have also emailed a trainer from the Maidstone area which is further than I had ideally wanted to travel am I am awaiting a response from him as well. I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably have to travel a fair distance to get involved with ringing/banding at this point.

Once again I really appreciate your responses and I would like to thank you for your help.




Ringing in Andalucia, Spain.

Dear Jaime. Greetings: I do not know if you could save a few pounds and have time. A flight to Seville or Gibraltar at a low cost carrier is very cheap.
I would like to make a great gift, I offer to welcome you for a weekend with my fellow group members to live the ringing "radical" in southern Spain.
I promise to pick you up at the airport of arrival and departure, you could eat and sleep in my house and of course if we visited in September-October will live the experience of postnuptial passage in this privileged area. (Some days with more than 400 catches)
Word I'm not gay nor a millionaire, I went for 40 years like you, an apprentice bander.
Here's your house and friends for if you decide to come. Sincerely Fernando Gavilan. Group Zamalla the Doñana Biological Station.


Well-known member
While you are trying to find a trainer I highly recommend one of the BTO/Field Studies Council introduction to ringing weekend courses - which will help you get a bit of initial experience and help you decide if ringing really is is for you.

Best of luck.


BTO often will not recommend getting a trainer if you are going on a field studies ringing course until after doing the course - the courses are shown on the BTO website


Birds rule, mammals drool...
I would have thought that the ringing authorities would be falling over themselves to accommodate such keen potential ringers??! :eek!:

I guess one sometimes doesn't realise how easy one has it until you read accounts like this one. I was in a very similar position, and contacted the head of the National Ringing Unit directly. I was given an email address to which to post which went out to bird ringers all over the country and in a few hours had five favourable replies! I went out with one group on Saturday and will go with another tomorrow.

I can't understand the mentality of a trainer 'not looking for trainees' either. Where are the ringers of the future going to come from?? The crowd that welcomed me on Saturday had 12 x A ringers and 12 x C ringers (beginners) and we all had a wonderful time.

OP, please don't give up! Ornithology needs you and your enthusiasm far more than it needs people who 'aren't looking to help others'.

Cheers B :)

Boro Birder

Well-known member
I am suffering the same problem, my local trainer says he is not taking on any trainees now or the near future, then politely blocked me for some unknown reason. So not very helpful at all, some groups can be very clique.

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