Ringing Activities

An Introduction to Ringing in County Mayo

Ringing of wild birds takes place in many sites in County Mayo by ringers, who are all licensed by the National Parks and Wildlife Serve (NPWS), as well as having ringing permits from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). The BTO co-ordinates ringing in Britain and Ireland.

Ringing occurs in a variety of habitats throughout the county, including gardens, seashore, offshore islands, headlands, farmland, wetlands and uplands. There are many specialised studies being undertaken in Mayo, e.g. colour-ringing of gulls on Lough Mask, satellite-tracking of Barnacle Geese on the Iniskeas, ringing waders in the northwest of Mayo, nest-box ringing of chicks, Storm Petrels on headlands, garden birds, etc.

Most birds have a metal ring fitted to their leg, but some are fitted with coloured rings on their legs, wings or, occasionally, round their neck. Colour rings can usually be read in the field using binoculars or scopes. Some birds have satellite-trackers fitted, which allow their movements to be followed as they move around County Mayo, Ireland or to different countries during migration.

If you see a bird that has a coloured ring on its leg, please note the number(s) or letter(s), colour of ring, where it is on the leg and which leg the ring is on. If it relates to wing-tagged birds, note the colour, any letter(s) or number(s) and which wing it is on.

Please report ringed birds to us or to the following websites.  More information can also be found at these websites:



You can read Chris Benson’s 2008 report on bird ringing in Mayo below :