ringed oystercatcher 1


Well as you all know I like Oystercatchers so no surprise that one stormy day in December I was down on Garrarus watching them. There were maybe 15 to 20 birds. After a while I noticed one with rings on his legs-a metal one, a red one, a yellow one and a green one. None of the other Oystercatchers had them so I photographed him. On returning to the house I walked over to my PC and the first post that caught my eye, I kid you not, was a post about an Oystercatcher ringing project run by Birdwatch Ireland.



When I clicked on the link I found a form I could use to report my sighting but I  couldn’t use it as I didn’t have the program on my PC so I just emailed them directly and nearly immediately got an excited email back from Niall at Birdwatch Ireland. The next day he sent me some more detail. It turns out our Oystercatcher was ringed as chick in Kilcoole in Wicklow last July. Here’s what Niall said…



“So far we have only ringed one brood of chicks with red rings, so we know it was one of that brood. The birds were ringed as fluffy chicks on the 5th July. They were reported in the vicinity of the little Tern colony in Kilcoole by the wardens until mid-August and then subsequently seen on Newcastle beach, which is a few miles to the south. Then we heard nothing about them until you got in touch yesterday! “

Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to read the ring but here is some more information about them.

  • the metal ring is a standard ring that all birds get. It has a unique number and will be in the bird for the life of the  bird
  • the green plastic ring identifies the bird as one of the Dublin Bay Bird Project Birds
  • the red ring refers to the ringing site, in this case, it is anything south of Dublin Bay– the Breaches in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow (if you see yellow in place of red, it was ringed in south Dublin Bay)
  • the yellow ring with the inscription allows us to identify each bird as an individual with a telescope or camera.

So our pal has travelled a hundred miles to be here. If you spot one of these birds, do report them here or email Birdwatch Ireland directly at

I couldn’t resist including this cartoon from my Monster in the Next Room blog…




  1. Hi Clare, that is very interesting, after reading your blog I remembered that I had taken some pics of oyster catchers sometime after Christmas.I took my pics on 9th Jan and yes your little pal was there that day too, I have a couple of shots of him but never noticed that he was ringed !! Love the cartoons 🙂


    • Liam thats great to hear!I wonder if the rings are readable on your pics?Mine were too fuzzy. Thanks my friend for being there 🙂


      • Not sure what you mean by read ! I can see the rings and the colours and he’s probably a biteen closer alright. I will email to you 🙂


      • Theres an ID number on the yellow ring which you can see-apparently-with binoculars. It identifies the exact individual. It probably won’t show up in a photo though I was hoping it would. Will have to go down the beach with my eyeglasses 🙂


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