Waveney Ringing Group

Who We Are

Waveney Ringing Group (WRG) is a team of friendly individuals with a range of bird ringing expertise. The team consists of trainees, C-permit holders and A- permit holders, with training endorsements, all who are dedicated to our voluntary role of studying birds.

WRG operates as part of the Waveney Bird Club (WBC) under the auspices of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The Ringing Group is registered with the BTO in accordance with clause 2.7 of the BTO Ringers’ Manual. The Groups geographical area includes the Waveney Valley and its tributaries, but also important sites such as RSPB Minsmere, National Trust Dunwich Heath and Bawdsey Hall. The Ringing Group follows WBC protocols and is all-inclusive with no ringing events taking place without invitations being offered to all WRG members. All ringing procedures, public awareness requirements, health and safety measures, safeguarding children policy, ringing etiquette and the law is strictly adhered to at all times. It is mandatory that Ringers should be members of the WBC. Having completed an application form to join the Ringing Group and upon acceptance they will pay an additional Ringer’s supplement (currently £30 annually) which contributes to the additional cost of equipment.

What We Do

Group members regularly conduct ringing demonstrations at RSPB Minsmere and National Trust Dunwich Heath. The purpose of our demonstration is to allow visitors (especially children), to see birds in the hand, it also provides an opportunity to explain about bird migration. The demonstrations have proven to be extremely popular, especially during the summer school holiday period with hundreds of people attending each session, some electing to stay for the whole day such is their interest in this event.  The demonstrator explains to his audience how and why birds are ringed and the benefits of ringing as a conservation tool. The audiences are invited and encouraged to ask questions. We also undertake both Constant Effort Site (CES) and Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) research schemes on behalf of the BTO.

The Group also assists with local projects, for example Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project (SCBOP) and Landguard Bird Observatory’s gull study.  

Getting Started

Ringing activities are open to all WBC members, but all must abide by the rules of the Ringing Scheme as laid down in the BTO Ringers’ Manual. Any member who wishes to take up ringing, should in the first instance gain an understanding of bird’s behaviour and be fairly astute at bird identification. An important consideration of anyone wishing to take up ringing is that ringing sessions generally start before dawn and attendees are expected to be present to help with setting up. An alarm clock may therefore be an essential part of a ringer’s equipment. Potential trainees could then be invited to further their knowledge with field experience with a qualified Trainer. Taster sessions (see below) will be offered to potential new recruits and if they are keen to carry on training, they will need to register with BTO as a trainee. Potential new recruits should be approved by WBC Committee, although the Trainer will have the final say as to whether he/she will take on the training commitment. A registration form, available from the BTO www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing will need to be completed for a Trainer to sign. The initial permit payment to the BTO, will also include a copy of the BTO Ringers Manual, which is the guide to all aspects of the Ringing Scheme. At this stage, trainees can also subscribe to Ringing & Migration, the Ringing Scheme’s journal. The Trainer will then be responsible for ringing training thereafter. Initially, ringing tools may be borrowed from members of the Ringing Group or the Trainer but, as training progresses trainees will need to purchase their own equipment.                  New members to the WBC who already hold a Ringing permit and wish to join the Ringing Group, will be required to complete an application form to join and pay the additional annual Ringer’s supplement. It is a condition that they will also serve a probationary period of 6 months. If at the end of this period both parties are happy with the Groups arrangements then they will become a full Ringing Group member.

Taster Sessions/Ringing Costs

Any member wishing to start ringing can take advantage of the “taster” sessions, at a cost of £10. If you do go on to be a ringing member of the club, you will need to pay the annual £30 Ringers supplement in addition to your annual WBC membership subscription. The £10 (already paid) would then be deducted from the annual ringing supplement. The rings will be supplied by your trainer on behalf of the club, at your introductory session and payment for rings used may be necessary. Currently the cost of rings used at WRG approved sites is met by the Ringing Group. All expenditure for ringing activities needs to be approved by WBC

All contact should in the first instance be via the WBC membership secretary.