There are numerous projects both at home and around the world that use colour-rings to help individual birds to be recognised in the field. This provides data on migration patterns, breeding and wintering areas, and can help identify and implement conservation measures for these species. More information can be found at

In Dorset a variety of species can be found carrying colour-rings, from wetland species such as Black-tailed Godwit and Spoonbill, to passerines such as Pied Wagtail and Dartford Warbler. If you observe such a bird please do note the colour, code and location of the ring carefully, and report it either via where you will be able to find the email address of the organiser of the scheme, or directly to the contacts listed below. If the scheme cannot be found, it may be reported via Euring or by email to BTO

Please do also share the details of your sighting with the Dorset county recorder



Some of the colour-ringing schemes that are currently operating in Dorset are listed below. If you are operating another scheme locally and would like it listed on this page please do let us know.


Greylag Goose (Poole Park)      

Birds with a white ring on the left leg with the letter “U” followed by 3 numbers. This scheme is run by Thomas Weston. Send sightings to Birds have been seen at other locations such as Poole Harbour, Longham Lakes, and the Avon Valley.

Little Tern (Chesil Beach)

Yellow ring with black alpha-numeric code on right leg - send sightings to Steve Hales

Osprey (Poole Harbour)

A single dark blue ring with white alpha-numeric lettering. Ring reads can be submitted at

Red Kite (North Dorset)

Yellow wing tags with two-digit alpha-numeric code - send to Conservation Action 

Bearded Tit (Radipole Lake RSPB)

A combination of 3 colour rings. Two colour rings on the right leg and one on the left below the BTO metal ring - send sightings to Steve Hales

Dartford Warbler (Parley Common)      

A combination of 3 colour rings. Two colour rings on the right leg and one orange ring on the left leg above the BTO metal ring. Sightings to Kevin Sayer

Water Pipit (Lytchett Bay - Stour Ringing Group)      

Single yellow ring on left leg with inscription of a number and letter in black. The letters used so far is K and V. Sightings to Shaun Robson

Rock Pipit (Lytchett Bay - Stour Ringing Group)      

Single white ring on left leg with inscription of two letters in black. The letters used so far are A and B. Sightings to Shaun Robson



What to report when you find a colour-ringed bird

Email the scheme co-ordinator with the following details:

  • the correct species
  • location of ring-read - include grid reference and/or co-ordinates (from e.g. google maps)
  • the type of ring used - some birds can be ringed with a neckring, one or more coded legring(s), a combination of colour-rings, a wingtag or a nose-saddle.
  • the exact colour, code and position of the ring or tag. The code will often be alpha-numeric (letters and numbers) or based on a combination of uncoded colours. Codes can sometimes be difficult to read accurately in the field - a photograph can be very useful to confirm. Scheme co-ordinators will also appreciate a copy of your photograph.
  • most ringed birds also carry a metal ring - sometimes this is used in the ring combination so also note the position of the metal ring.

The project co-ordinator will reply to your email with life history details. Reply time can vary between schemes - please be patient!

European Colour-Ring Birding website