24 April 2010

The ultimate eye test

Most people would rather not go to the opticians for an eye test but it is amazing what some people can read.

I've been struck recently by the amount of recoveries we are getting, here at the BTO from members of the public and ringers alike with the words "I read the ring number from some photos" or "I read the ring number on a bird, on my garden feeder". This in itself isn't big news but when we are talking about birds the size of Willow Warblers and Bearded Tits, the mind boggles.

As you have probably seen we have reported on ring-read Hawfinch, Red-necked Phalarope and Snow Bunting but a quick look on the database reveals many more species. There are small garden birds like Blackbird, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker but also Blue and Great Tits, Pied Wagtails and Brambling.

We have had three Golden Orioles, Scottish Crossbill, Twite, Little Ringed Plover and Water Rail for those more unusual species but people have taken the time to read the rings of Little Stint, Reed Warbler, Willow Tit, Bearded Tit, Yellow Wagtail and Bluethroat.

I remember speaking to Michael Welsh in July 09 with disbelief how he described spending hours by the river bank taking photos and the eventually reading the ring of a Kingfisher!


  1. I have a photo of a rung sedge warbler .. Can I send it to someone to have a look at as the mumbers aren't amazingly clear. Great blog btw

  2. Hi Mark - if you can make out any numbers then do send it on to recoveries@bto.org and someone may be able to track it down...