How to become birdringer?
Bird ringing is essentially achieved by volunteer collaborators. These are certified by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) to ensure the high quality of data collected.
Ringers are always attached to the ringing group established in their area of activity. There is no independent ringers. Each group is led by a group leader. He or she ensures the administrative management of the team: the distribution of rings, data transmission (ringing data, recovery data, annual totals) between ringers and RBINS (and vice versa). The group leader supervises the training of trainees.
If you wish to participate in this study, contact us to be linked with the leader of the active ringing group in your area. It is strongly recommended - if not necessary – that you already have a good knowledge of bird identification and behaviour.
The group leader will make an initial assessment and accept - or not - the candidate for a training period. If the assessment is positive, the person can begin a first minimum of two years training.
Training is essentially empirical : the knowledge is acquired through practice in the ringing group. A theoretical study is also highly recommended and a citation is required : Svensson, L. 1992. Identification Guide to European Passerines.
After minimum two years of training period, the ringing group leader undertakes a new assessment of the applicant and inscribe him - or not – to the theoretical exam for certification. The ability to handle perfectly adequately wild birds is the criterion that will be evaluated in priority. The ability to pass the exam is the following criterion.
The certification exam is organized at the RBINS in the second half of November.
The list of collaborators-ringers successfully tested after the first two-year training period is submitted to the competent authorities to obtain legal permission to ring birds for scientific purposes. This authorization limits the activity to ringing chicks. It does not allow the use of capture means such as nets or traps.
The collaborator-ringer wishing to continue training may enroll for another minimum two-year training period under the same conditions. After positive evaluation it will be invited to present a second theoretical exam at the RBINS. If successful, the RBINS solicit for him, to the competent authorities, a legal permission to capture and ring birds for scientific purposes.
The detailed procedure can be downloaded here in French or Dutch.