Ringingmarking a bird by placing a ring on its leg. Although close ringing is practised in aviculture, and plastic rings are used in research projects where colour ringing is necessary, most rings used for wild birds consist of thin strips of a very lightweight alloy (aluminium for small birds and nickel for larger ones) and are pressed round the leg with ringing pliers. Each ring is numbered and carries the address of the ringing scheme concerned. In the case of a ringing recovery the bird's movement can be traced, and thus ringing makes a valuable contribution to the study of migration and distribution. Length of time between ringing and recovery gives an indication of longevity, and while the bird is in the hand it can be weighed, measured and otherwise closely examined. Ringing is strictly controlled under the bird protection laws, both a ringing permit and a licence being required to practise it.
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From Peter Weaver's Birdwatcher's Dictionary
Copyright © 1981 by Peter Weaver