Bird Ringing at Foxglove Covert

The diverse habitats of the site mean that a variety of bird species is either resident or passing through on migration and bird ringing is one of the most important aspects of conservation on the reserve.


Most of the ringing is done with mist nets but there is also a Heligoland trap for use when mist netting is not possible. The site has some 70 different mist net rides, although only about 50 are used on a regular basis. The Field Centre ringing room was purpose built and offers a level of comfort and space rarely equalled at other sites. By the end of 2019 the group had processed altogether over 238,500 birds of 147 species. More than 65,000 new birds had been ringed on the reserve and 120,800 processed; of those over 52,360 were caught as part of the CES scheme. 

In common with all other bird ringing sites, Foxglove Covert carries out its work under the auspices of The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) through whom each ringer must be licenced. The reserve is a registered Constant Effort Site (CES). This effectively means that, in order to remove as many variables as possible, the same number of nets are erected in the same net rides on the same 12 days of the year for the same length of time. Because CES is always run in the summer months, ringing starts as early as 4am and continues for ten and a half hours.