Passing on The Knowledge
5000th BTO Bird Ringing Permit presented?The 5000th BTO Bird Ringing Permit has just been presented to Cambridge ringer, Richard Billington. Dr Simon Cox, now the holder of the lowest permit number (13), presented Richard`s permit. The recruitment and training of such new ringers is an integral part of the modern Ringing Scheme. 26 year-old Richard began his ringing career in Israel, spending three months at the International Birdwatching Centre in Eilat. Back in the UK, Richard now rings with the Wicken Fen Ringing Group in Cambridgeshire and at Portland Bird Observatory in Dorset.Simon Cox was awarded permit number 13 in 1965, when the first ringing permits were issued. Since qualifying as a ringer in 1960 he has made an enormous contribution to the scheme, ringing many thousands of birds as well as training other ringers.Since ringing permits were first introduced in 1965, 5000 volunteers have obtained a BTO bird-ringing permit. Today, over 1,900 licensed ringers still operate and ring approximately 750,000 birds per year in Britain and Ireland. Annually, 10,000 of these birds are found and reported to the BTO. These reports come from our own ringers who re-catch birds, and from members of the public who have found dead birds. The data gathered from ringing are vital for conservation planning, allowing decisions to be made based on scientific facts. For example, analysis of ringing data in a recent study into the decline of Starlings has shown that it is probably a decrease in the survival rate of birds (i.e. fewer birds survive from one year to the next) that has driven the decline. This deeper understanding of bird populations can help policy makers to investigate the reasons for change, so that our countryside can be managed in a way that can reverse such declines.
4th July 2014