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Outlaw Pete

Ringing? So, You Want To Be A Ringer ....?

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Okay. So I'm seeing some heart felt enthusiasm here :toast: I'm being asked how and what it's like to get into proper, legal, BTO authorised ringing.


Then I'm being told; " I hope I'm not asking too many questions? :icon_redface: "


:icon_eek: People! Ringing is the Dogs danglers, to me! Think of those Football Fans. That's me. But, with ringing. I Live For my ringing. I get out of bed for it. It consumes my days. I f**king Love it!!!


Pul Eeease, don't ever think you could prod me too much about ringing! :D Ask all ye like. And, as ye've been asking? I'll start answering here. This is for anyone with a real interest .....


To start learning to become a ringer, you need to be trained. And, believe me, your Trainer will be a 'Black Belt' in ringing!


He / She / They will mentor you and show you the moves. Explain the points of it all.


As, they consider, you progress and learn, demonstrating your own aptitude, they will consider putting Their names to Your " Endorsements ".


Consider these a bit like the other 'belts' of martial arts. You start off as a Trainee / 'White Belt'. And you move up the ranks, according to ability and time / effort put in.


From White / Trainee, your ambition will be " C Permit Holder ". That's me!


However, the difference here is that you may choose to go for some 'belts', not bothering with others.


To use another analogy; This is like at college. Thirty students may be on the same core course. But, they'll have options on which modules they choose to incorporate. K?


For example; I'm land locked. I'd never need an endorsement for a Seabird Colony. I'm never going to ring a Ganet or be puked on by a Fulmer!


Easiest C Permit Endorsement would be for, eg. Blue / Great Tits, in nest boxes in your garden.


This is because A/ There's no real need to identify / age / sex the chicks (" Pullii ", to use the proper term for chicks. But, I'll say chicks, to save confusion). You know what's been in and out of that box. It's a bloody blue tit and so are these chicks!


B/ It's hardly SAS material, finding and approaching a nest box that you put up there. And not a lot's going to find that box, because of you, that couldn't find it any way.


So, basically? You open the box. Take out the chicks. Ring them and put them back.


Next level of Endorsement might be ringing birds in Open nests. This one's actually a lot more tasty than ye might imagine, compared to nest boxes. Because here ye have to demonstrate a bit of field craft, as well as other subtle skills.


Knowing how to look for nests is the first thing. What sort of stick to carry. How to use it and why. All cunning stuff!


Having found a nest? You, obviously, have to be damn sure of what's in it! Can't go seeing a little, green bird flicker away and recording that you've just ringed five Willow Warblers. Not if the nest was domed and had a little hole in the side! :icon_eek:


Knowing whether to ring is important too. Are they old enough? Too old? Should you have even come out today? With this weather ....? Yeppers. There's a Lot more to searching out Open Nesters than there is to telling Michael you'll " Open The Box "!


In tandem with this sort of thing, of course, there'll be the catching of 'Any Other' Birds. This you'll be doing twelve months of the year.


The method of choice being the Mist Net. Your Trainer will show you how to erect a mist net. Explain how it all works. Then you'll need to master extracting a bird from one.


Now, I very soon realised mist nets and me wouldn't mix :no: My hands and eyes are simply no longer up to it. And, anyway, I guess I just lack something in my nature.


Don't let that personal statement put you off for a moment though.


My problem is that I'm far too shot, in the eyeballs department. And my hands just aren't as sure and steady as they used to be. Believe me; Small bird in a mist net? If you're not on an island in the med', you'll want that baby out of there in one piece.


And, well ..... I'll leave that for ye Trainer to demonstrate to ye. Bit too much like threading a needle, for me. And no way can I do that!


No Mist Net Endorsement for me then. I've got an endorsement to use small traps! And I love it!!! I find a new source of bird traps and I'm the kiddie in the sweet shop! :boogy:


Mist nets aren't the be all and end all then. Traps though might be the want all and buy all! :laugh:


Finally ~ Or should this have come firstly? There's the basic meat and bones of Ringing. The stuff that's going to be your experience on the first day you meet your potential Trainer and will be what you do for ever more afterwards.


You'll be taught how to simply Handle a live, wild bird. Be it blue tit chick or what ever hits that net. Different species have their different personalities and reactions. Some are docile as new born babies. Others scream, peck and clutch.


And, believe me; There's a whole world of difference between the screaming, pecking and clutching of a great tit and a f**king jackdaw!!! :icon_eek:


God forbid I ever have to process an eagle owl! I think I'd be the screamer, as it pecked and clutched!


Why are we handling these birds? Good question! Because we want to get a ring on their leg, obviously. Then we (at least) measure their wing and weigh their body.


This stuff gives the number crunchers, back at HQ, an insight into how populations are doing.


Ye know how, in the Dark Ages, people were barely four feet tall and lived to thirty? Because life was shit? Well, we want to know how life is for birds, year on year. This tells us.


I dunno. This is probably one of the longer posts I've ever written. Not a problem, for me. I could just rabbit all night about my absolute passion. Not sure how many have been able to stay this course though :icon_redface: Sorry!


I'll drop out here, for now. Anyone still reading this? YOU have the potential! :toast:


Absolutely Anything else you wonder about? Please do ask me! Then I can go into another one! :laugh:


Obviously; I've only earned a very limited little C Permit. There are Gods out there with A Permits. The 'Black Belts' of Ringing.


My boss, obviously, has an A Permit with a Trainers Endorsement. And, I swear, I have Seen that man walk on water!!!


(Well; The way he found that Willow Warblers nest? He'd might as well of done!)


But, yeah, I'll explain what ever I can about what it's like to get into ringing. Anything I don't know? I'll find out for ye. Just stitch ye question below :good:


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Pete, who actually assesses you in obtaining theses permits is it your mentor/trainer or a independent person ?.

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Mr Wilkes; It's your Trainer.


As I recall, there may be some occasions where by an independent Trainer can be called in to give another opinion? But, normally, the BTO trust the judgement of the people they've awarded the A Permit with Trainers Endorsement to.


In fact; Gaining that Training Endorsement may well be when they'll send in another A / Trainer, to verify the qualification of the new, to be Trainer.


But, for us? Yes. Your Trainer will judge you. And HQ will generally accept his / her assessment of your ability / entitlement to Endorsements.


Thing to realise is that this is all very 'casual' feeling and friendly. There's no 'Boot Camp' aura about it. You feel comfortable doing a bit? Your Trainer feels comfortable with you doing it? Boosh! End of the year, they put you up for that endorsement.

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Cheers pete,

Another question for you.....do you have to have a permit before you can buy the "Gear" ?... id like to think I payed my way on the long journey.

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Can a mod do the tagging/locking what ever it fecking is thing :laugh: and put this up the top with the wild food bit,bloody good info this and many thanks OP for taking the time. :victory:

Pinned :toast:

Edited by fireman
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Sorry, lads. Was reading the forum and Yahoo's playing me up and not alerting me to incoming.


great post op :thumbs: do you get paid or is it voluntary



Do I get paid?!? :laugh: Hell, no!


Truth is; Ringing is Not a game for anyone trying to make ends meet. No more than drug addiction! (And there I refuse to smile or laugh, lest it be misconstrued!)


Ye can probably pour as much money into it as ye have available ~ People even travel the world, to ring in other countries! :icon_eek: But, even at the most basic level, ye need kit.


My own first expense was paying my Trainers petrol! I Absolutely F**king Insisted!!! This guy drives a couple of hours, each way. Crosses f**king Counties, just to spend the same amount of time teaching me! He asks Nothing. F**k that. Covering his petrol is the least I could offer.


Then, there's the basic kit. Stuff you'll be using every session. Bird bags. Scales. The holy of holies; Ringers Pliers! (Oh, I feel weak! :laugh:)


Trust me on this: Owning your own pliers will become, to you, like the quest to lose your virginity was! And, at about forty quid a set? Readily available? A lot less sweat!


Then, there's the books. " Ringers Manual " is a Must. Tenner. Something like that. What ever. It's our bible. Ye simply can't be a ringer without it.


Svensson? A score or so. That's ye bible of feathers. How we age / sex a bird in the hand. Scary stuff! :laugh:


Scales? Two sorts. Spring balance or digital. Big and small. I own big and small springers. But, my day to day hero is my twenty odd pound, Amazon UK digital beauty!


Bird Bags? Ye'll damn soon learn what these are about, once the nets go up, or ye start operating several nest boxes!


Think of them as Surgical kit. Fresh one for every bird. Two for every nest / box! Before ye know it, you'll be salivating over the sight of a bankers cloth cash bag! Pillow cases will haunt your dreams! :laugh:


You'll see ....!

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Do you have to have a permit before you can buy the "Gear" ?



Mr Wilkes; Anyone can buy '99%' of the gear we use. Scales? Rules? Empty pepper pots ..... :laugh: I'll deliberately leave That one hanging! Let your Trainer see your face when he shows ye what That's all about.


(Don't let the wife chuck out the last plastic, standard, shop bought Saxo pepper container though. Or you'll be screaming / dashing down to Tosco and buying some, just for the plastic container ;))


Ringers pliers are freely available. Just; WTF are ye going to Do with them though???


It's the rings, ye see? The only thing that makes sense to putting a ring on a wild birds leg is that that ring number be reported to the governing body who authorise that ringing.


Cadge a few red coloured, plastic, budgie rings off a mate. Catch a few birds in ye garden and pop them on, 'To see what happens'.


What happens? Your bloody birds may well get spotted / caught / reported to HQ and thus fed into the system!


Result? " Blue Tit, colour ringed in Basingstoke, sighted in Barnsley! New National Record for dispersal!!! " :rolleyes:


That's why only ye governor can keep a mouth watering case full of rings, See? You'll see! He / She'll have this 'attaché case' that you'll have a hard time getting your eyes off! :laugh:


" F**k Me! Those Must be swan rings?!? " Probably are. For now? Behave and concentrate on ye great tits alua's! :laugh:



Sorry. It's very late on 'Saturday Night'. I'll come back to this .....

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Another question pete, do you get allocated a certain amount of rings per year ? do you have to pay for the rings or does the bto pay ?.

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Another question pete, do you get allocated a certain amount of rings per year ? do you have to pay for the rings or does the bto pay ?.

Hi pal im sure pete said in an earlier thread he has spent £300 on rings im not sure if this is correct but im sure he will be on to tell us :thumbs:

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When you put your traps out can you put them on public land or does it have to be on private land


" Public land " suggests council owned land. Thus I'd need the permission of the council. In a word? Just like any other form of 'hunting', we must have the land owners permission.


But, yes, my own endorsement is Not restricted. However, you might well, eg. first be granted a limited endorsement to erect a little mist net in your own garden.


Reasons behind this being, eg. That your Trainer realises that you're not likely to catch anything but the usual suspects. Small, 'garden' birds which you're used to.


Let you loose in the world and who knows where you may get to and get in that net. Down the local duck pond? Chasing a canada goose that's taken ye entire net with it?


And that raises the spectre of another, very pertinent, aspect of all this. What if you found yourself running after a netted goose? How do ye think the public would react to that? Bloody uproar, obviously!


So, they won't let it happen. You won't get out of your garden until your Trainer knows that You know what not to do. And, even then that you know how to handle the public.


There's all sorts out there, Bud. From the ones who'll want to follow you around like sheep and peer over your shoulder, awe struck by every move you make. To the red faced and raging ones, who'll scream " What The Bloody Hell Do You Think You're Doing?!? " and will make a grab for your equipment (Matron!!! :huh:)


See? There's more to all this than ye might at first think. Thankfully, the BTO have been thinking about it for a hundred years! They have it covered now and their Trainers implement that accrued knowledge and experience. You'll be in very good hands :yes:

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Fascinating stuff Pete :thumbs: one thing going through my mind when reading this is I find myself comparing it to one of my passions, photography ( not the technical side lol ) and ( you may have noticed ),

I see a bird, I take a pic and if its say a x bill my knickers get wet :laugh: i suppose the same as when you find something "exotic" in one of your traps,


seems to me though you're passion has alot more to it than just taking a picture so I say " hats off to you mate "


keep up the good erm,,,, work :angel:

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