Study Group




Peak District

Eastern Edges Ring Ouzel Project - The Peak District (Derbyshire & South Yorkshire)

Click here to report a nesting or colour-ringed Ring Ouzel in the Peak District

Project Background

Each year a team of volunteers, led by Kim Leyland (follow on Twitter for Ring Ouzel updates during the breeding season) and working in conjunction with the Eastern Moors Partnership, Peak District National Park and the British Mountaineering Council, aims to map the location of all Ring Ouzel territories and nests across the gritstone edges of the eastern Peak District.
This area hosts a unique population of ouzels, characterised by their close association with popular rock climbing crags. Our work has shown that ouzels and climbers (and other visitors) can co-exist if space is given to ouzels around their nest sites.
For vulnerable nests, signs are placed around the area - either to advertise climbing restrictions or divert people away from a particular area or path. The nests are monitored throughout the season, with any restrictions being lifted as and when nests succeed (or fail). This allows the birds space to breed, while maintaining access for recreation as freely as possible.
The project builds on the work of Bill Gordon (former Stanage-North Lees warden) who spent many years protecting ouzel nests and forging the partnership with the BMC.
For a more in depth look at the project see here – Ring Ouzels on the Eastern Edges.

Colour Ringing

In 2022 we began a project to fit Ring Ouzel chicks with individual combinations of colour rings, in order to help us track birds returning from migration in subsequent years. It will also help provide an insight into the movements of returning birds, and possibly link to other areas the birds are using. Ringing is carried out by licensed ringers from Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and supported by Sheffield Bird Study Group.

Juvenile Ring Ouzel (blue-yellow-red) at Higger Tor, June 2022

How You Can Help
Look out for and observe signs around crags during the breeding season.

  • If you hear an alarm calling Ring Ouzel (a loud “tac-tac-tac!”) move away from the area, and if possible observe where the bird would like to be, and what it is doing – then report your sighting!
  • Keep dogs on leads in all moorland areas between 1st March and 31st July.
  • Check the BMC Regional Access Database before climbing during the bird nesting season.
  • Record all your ouzel sightings using the iRecord website or the Moors for the Future MoorLIFE app (Android or Apple). These records are publically accessible and can be accessed by the project team during the season.

During the breeding season (April to July) voluntary rock climbing restrictions and other diversions may be in place to protect Ring Ouzels nesting on and around the gritstone edges. Keep an eye out for signs – which may apply to walkers and other visitors, as well as climbers.

Restrictions typically last around four weeks and are monitored regularly to keep track of the birds’ progress. Signs will be removed as soon as practical once a breeding attempt has finished (though may continue/reappear if birds have a second brood in a similar location).


In the Media
Countryfile Summer Diaries 2016 – Ring Ouzels and Climbing on Stanage Edge
Springwatch 2017 – Ring Ouzels in the Peak District

Ring Ouzels on the Eastern Edges – May 2021
Nestworking – June 2019 (page 12)
Bill 'Mr Stanage' Gordon awarded a BEM – July 2017
Ring ouzels in the Peak District – June 2017
Ring ouzels have best year in Peak District – August 2012
Climbers help protect rare chicks in Peak District – July 2006
The Stanage Forum – May 2002




Copyright RSPB 2011