Bird ringing provides a massive amount of important ecological data that can help inform both science and conservation (British Trust for Ornithology; BTO). At UEA we use ringing mainly as a training tool to enable students to get hands-on experience handling, measuring and tagging animals. It also allows students to train for a BTO ringing licence, an invaluable qualification sought after by many employers (e.g. RSPB, Birdlife International etc.). All the data gathered is also fed back into the UK wide databases managed by BTO).
The campus provides a diverse selection of habitats in which to catch birds. During the winter months we run several feeding stations which attract all the common woodland birds as well as flocks of brambling, siskin and goldfinch. We also venture further afield to locations such as Cantley and Waxham and link up with the Wash Wader Ringing Group.
We catch birds mainly using fine mist nets of various length. Strung up between two poles these nets are virtually invisible and harmlessly trap birds that fly into them. The nets are checked regularly to minimise the time the birds spend in them and birds are carefully extracted by trained ringers. After measuring and ringing them the birds are released unharmed.
We are now establishing a nest box population around the campus, using a variety of different size boxes to attract a wide range of species. The breeding cycles and behaviour of these birds can then be monitored in detail by students.
If you find a bird that has a ring on it please report it to the BTO. Either send the ring to directly to them, or record and send the number printed on the ring.
We have been funded by generous grants from the Salter charitable trust and the UEA alumni association – thank you!
Run by faculty from UEA (Iain Barr and David Richardson) and people from BTO (Mark Grantham) and RSPB (Jenny Smart) and RSPB. We are open to all students and staff across the university and also welcome interest from local schools and colleges. For further details and how to get involved contact Iain Barr.