With Spring in the air and Springwatch on the air, birds are on the mind and it is not uncommon to find ringed birds on the golf course. It is important to ornithology that these birds are reported, dead or alive, as this will help in various environmental studies around the world. See why here. If the bird is alive and well and if you can see the ring, binoculars or scopes almost certainly required, then you can report it to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) on their ring reporting page. If the bird is dead, then there should be no problem distinguishing the rings and reporting a dead bird is arguably more significant to science or the police as the death may not be natural but deliberate. If the ringed bird is a pigeon, then it is likely to be a racing pigeon. Its leg ring contains a country, i.e UK (GB), a year date 18,19 etc) and a reference letter and number N64440 for example. If the pigeon is still alive and needs help, or if you just wish to record its passing with the owner you can contact the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) where you will find advice for caring for an injured or exhausted pigeon (do not feed it bread) and the owners name address and phone number. If the bird is from overseas then see the RPRA’s foreign stray details for further contact details. Racing Pigeon owners will buy a group of leg rings (say 100) all consecutively numbered and registered to their name and address. The address or telephone number may also be on the bird's feathers so gently open each wing and look for an ink stamp on the top side of the wing, or on a telephone number on a separate leg ring. A pigeon is worth anything from £100 upwards (The record is £1.07m) so the owner will be very pleased to hear from you. Credit: Thanks to Neil Sjoberg, Epping GC for his contribution to this article.
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