IOU Working Group on Bird Marking

Attaching a ring to a song bird's tarsus. © S. Rösner | pixeldiversity

With the development of the new International Ornithological Union (IOU), we would like to propose the establishment of a Committee on Bird Marking under the purview of the IOU.

Justification for the need for this committee includes:

  • Bird marking remains a key tool for research, monitoring and conservation of birds worldwide. New bird marking programs are emerging (e.g., Latin America, Africa, Asia) and international networks have developed within regions (e.g., RAAHO, AFRING, EURING) to promote coordination, data sharing and best practices.

  • Global issues such as climate change, avian conservation and emergent disease issues require a coordinated effort to understand bird movement on a global scale.

  • New bird-marking technologies are being used with increasing frequency (i.e. satellite transmitters, GPS, geolocators, etc). Coordinated efforts and guidance to marking programs will allow data gathered to achieve maximum conservation value.

  • Communication and coordination among schemes will promote sharing of tools, data, data management systems, best practices, manuals and other new developments.

Therefore we propose the establishment of a new IOU committee to oversee and coordinate bird marking programs.

Committee Mission:

  • to enhance international collaboration and standardization on bird marking and associated data management issues of mutual concern by promoting communication, coordination and sharing of data, tools and best practices among bird marking schemes to achieve maximum conservation value while incorporating high ethical and scientific standards.

Committee Mandate:

  • Develop and promote active communication among existing marking programs, networks and interested parties through:

    • Meetings held in conjunction with the International Ornithological Congress;

    • Direct communication among members using E-mail and other mechanisms;

    • Other communication mechanisms such as web pages, wikis, list serves, or social media such as Facebook

  • Maintain a website for dissemination of information on bird marking including committee documents, standards documents, links to communication resources, and links and information on existing marking schemes internationally;

  • Act as a hub for coordination, information sharing and discussion of topics of common interest related to bird marking;

  • Develop, review and endorse documents and/or manuals giving recommended standards for bird marking and management of bird-marking programs;

  • Develop position statements on areas of importance to bird-marking (e.g., related to management of data collected through new technologies).

Committee Governance and Participation:

The Committee will be led by two co-chairs elected from among the members representing two different countries. Formal membership will consist of representatives from each ringing / banding program as well as a limited number of at-large members. In addition, the Committee will welcome the informal participation of other interested parties. A terms of reference document is currently in development and will be finalized during the next face to face meeting of the Committee. Committee proceedings will be disseminated via the committee webpage and other communications mechanisms.

Contact to chairs:

Gudrun Hilgerloh,

Judith Szabo,