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Call to action for evidence of ring-related deformities

Best-mealy-redpoll-cock-JTHE BRITISH BIRD Council (BBC) and International Ornithological Association (IOA) are urging birdkeepers to send in photographic evidence of certain British bird species with deformed feet.

This plea follows the “unacceptable” proposal from DEFRA to treat northern British bird subspecies under a Class Licence (CL), rather than General Licence (GL) (see News, March 22 issue), which will affect plans to increase ring sizes in line with birds being bred in Europe.

The BBC and IOA have put pressure on DEFRA and Natural England (NE) for some time to change the ring sizes for some British native species, as the birds bred are much larger these days and the rings are causing some deformities, which is becoming a welfare issue.

Following a recent meeting on April 19 held with DEFRA and NE, the BBC and IOA are calling for members to send in photographs of birds with deformed feet following the ringing of chicks in the nest. The species they are interested in are mealy redpoll, ring size C; Siberian bullfinch, ring size D; and Siberian goldfinch, ring size C.

Witness statements that detail problems with ringed birds, such as having to ring birds early or chicks dying because of abandonment by parents, will also be accepted.

The BBC and IOA need evidence to push the ring-size changes through and keep these birds on GL, as it will be much more difficult to address this under a CL. Eddie Wells from the IOA said: “It is important that we gather as much evidence and then DEFRA and NE will realise that what they are being told – by the experts who fit the rings – is correct.”

The BBC’s Robb Brown added: “It’s time for birdkeepers to help us in showing just how big a problem this has been.”

● Send photographs and witness statements to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cage and Aviary Birds is Published by

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