Help us understand this ring found on a bird
July 23, 2021 8:49 AM   Subscribe

A dead bird in London, probably a pigeon, wore a ring around its leg with some writing on it. We are not sure what it means.

On one side the yellow ring says MALTA 1992. On the other side is a code, 13-1450.

The previous owner of our house didn't cover the chimney, and over time birds were trapped inside. The wearer of this ring was one of them. We are having the chimney covered over now to protect other birds.

Could the ring have belonged to a homing pigeon? Or a wildlife project we could track down somehow?
posted by johngoren to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Possibly contact the people here?
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:55 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I assume you found things like how to read a pigeon racing ring? A bit of searching about suggests that Malta has a long-distance pigeon racing community, my guess is that the bird was born in '92, brought to the UK to participate in a race back to Malta, and perished.
posted by straw at 9:02 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You've found a banded bird!

If dpx.mfx's link above doesn't get you where you should be, perhaps try the International Bird Rescue.

Or, since it looks like a racing pigeon, Malta Pigeon Racing's facebook page.
posted by Gray Duck at 9:03 AM on July 23

Best answer: All wild birds are ringed/banded with a metal band, plus a colour one if they are part of a specific colour ringing project. The plastic colour ring will have a simple alpha-numeric code designed to be read from a distance through binoculars or a telescope, the metal ring will have a more complex code plus contact details such as a website, and are designed to be read in the hand if the bird is caught again or found dead.

Racing pigeons are ringed differently, and will have varying numbers of coloured rings, and from what the other say, yours does sound like a racing pigeon, and as you are in London, the Royal Pigeon Racing Association has a good guide to how to report rings, including a link to Malta Federation of Racing Pigons, who you can report this one to.
posted by sarahdal at 10:21 AM on July 24

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers. In case anyone else finds themselves in this situation, the Malta Federation of Racing Pigeons seems to have disconnected their phone and e-mail, but I am hoping to hear back from one of the other channels suggested above.
posted by johngoren at 2:02 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

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