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Report Bird Bands

To report a recovered bird band:

You will need to provide the band number, and how, when and where the bird or band was found.

Those who recover Federal bird bands are welcome to keep the bands they report. If calling, they can find out where and when the bird was banded. In addition, each person who reports a band recovery will receive a certificate of appreciation that tells when, where, and who banded the bird.

Bird banding is one of the most useful tools in the modern study of wild birds. Wild birds are captured and marked with a uniquely numbered band or ring placed on the leg. Information from bands subsequently found and reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory provides data on the distribution and movements of species, their relative numbers, annual production, life-span and causes of death. Such information increases our knowledge and understanding of birds and their habits and assists in their management and conservation.

Bird banding is a universal and indispensable technique for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. The North American Bird Banding Program is jointly administered by the United States Department of the Interior and the Canadian Wildlife Service . Their respective banding offices have similar functions and policies and use the same bands, reporting forms and data formats. Joint coordination of the program dates back to 1923.

Virtually all species are, or have been, banded. Currently, 1,200,000 birds are banded, and 85,000 recovered, each year. More than 63,000,000 birds have been banded since the beginning of the program in 1902, and 3,500,000 have been recovered and reported to the banding offices. Millions more have been recaptured or resighted by banders.

These banders include federal and state conservation agencies; university associates; avocational ornithologists; bird observatories; environmental centers; nongovernmental organizations; environmental consulting firms, and other private sector businesses. Currently, more than 6,100 banders are operating in US and Canada.

To learn more about bird banding, visit the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory's web site.