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Ringing in Campo de Gibraltar

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The positioning of a ring on the leg of a bird marks the beginning of ringing, a scientific method that allows us to keep track of the numerous mysteries of the biology of wild birds, especially on the migratory movements,which involves a large number of species. This ring is generally metallic, which is read in the hand, or, is of plastic of different colours with combinations of numbers, letters or bars, the latter generally being read using binoculars or telescopes. In the first case (with which our group concentrates on ) the ring is stamped with a letter or a number that indicates its model and size, followed by a number that is unique to that bird and the address of the corresponding ringing office for that country; which is an organisation in charge of coordinating nationwide ringing activity, responsible for publishing a balance of the birds ringed, controlled or recovered, and sends out ringing licences, etc. In Spain most of this work is carried jointly by the birds migration centre of the Spanish Ornithological society, along with the ringing office of the general directorate of nature conservation.
All the methods used to capture and mark the birds (such as Japanese nets, cannon nets or mesh traps) are authorized for this purpose, are safe and the ring once fixed is harmless to the bird: the ringing procedure does not interfere with the normal lifestyle
of the bird, and does not affect the other information that we obtain.  
The birds must always be held for the shortest possible time thus maintaining their good health;information recorded in the course of the ringing, includes the age, sex and state of the bird ,as well as the inscription on the ring, species, date and place of ringing, all of this data being sent eventually to the ringing centre. In addition other studies can be carried out, including recording data on other biometrics of the bird, the fat that it carries and the state of feather moult.
Other methods also exist to study wild birds, more specialised, including neck collars, wing tags, radiotransmitters, etc.

The main purpose of ringing is to make further contact with the ringed bird, which can happen in 2 ways: one of these is a "control" , which means when the ringed bird has been found, data is recorded, and then it is released again, whereas with the other, a
" recovery" which occurs when the ring has been found on a dead bird, or when the ring has been replaced by a new one because of its worn condition, etc.

Any person can take part in this exciting activity if, when finding a ringed bird, they collect the following data: species (if it can be identified), place, date and state of the bird, enclosing the ring if it is a recovery or, if it is a control, the inscription on the ring, which in this latter case means not removing the ring from the bird ,because this would not allow the possibility of further controls or recovery. All this data can be given to a member of the environment office of the corresponding Autonomous Community, or to
SEPRONA., etc. This information also can be sent by post, along with the flattened ring in the case of a recovery, to S.E.O or the general directorate for nature conservation at the Ministry of the environment, who pass it on to the ringing centre, which makes a
card with the received data, calculating the number of days passed from the original ringing date to the control/recovery date, the number of kilometers covered, information on this, in the case of foreign ring, is obtained in collaboration with the ringing centre of the corresponding country. Finally, this card will be sent to the ringer and to the person or organization that sent in the original data.





Grupo Ornitológico del Estrecho
Apartado de correos 351

11300 La Línea de la Concepción, Cádiz. Spain