Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of January 2011 and since 1960*, the BBL has received over 64 million banding records. Since the inception of the North American Bird Banding Program, the BBL has received over 4 million encounter records. On average, over the past decade, the BBL received 1.2 million banding and 87,000 encounter records per year.

Total numbers by species groups:

Bird Group # of bandings # of encounters
Loons and Grebes 25,741 1046
Alcids 255,152 5382
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 7,637,120 539,678
Ducks 12,207,426 1,996,522
Geese 4,905,300 1,220,090
Swans 34,441 14,742
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 457,873 18,078
Shorebirds 863,771 15,287
Doves and Pigeons 2,456,764 133,655
Raptors (including Owls) 1,904,273 65,872
Near Passerines and Passerines 33,302,750 420,793

*Banding data from 1914 to 1959 are not available in electronic format.

Where are the grouse, quail, turkey, pheasant? These birds are no longer banded with federal bands. Each state or province uses their own bands on these birds, as they are not covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Retrieve summaries of banding and encounter data