BIRD BANDING LABORATORY
PATUXENT WILDLIFE RESEARCH CENTER
12100 BEECH FOREST ROAD STE-4037
LAUREL MD 20708-4037
To: All Banders
From: Chief, Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL)
We are pleased to announce the availability of a toll free telephone number for reporting bird bands. One may call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) from anywhere in Canada, the United States and most parts of the Caribbean to report a bird band. We established this number as a uniform, convenient way to increase band reporting rates. Preliminary results from a 1995 trial where equal samples of mallards were banded with bands bearing the 1-800 number vs. bands bearing a conventional reporting address suggest that the 1-800 number prompts significantly more band reports from the public. In the final analysis we expect that the band reporting rate could be more than doubled. Thus, the 1-800 number will produce more and better data, and make field banding operations more cost effective.
We are expanding use of the 1-800 number in 1996 by listing the number in the 1-800 directory and on our home pages, and by advising conservation agencies, Flyway Councils, banders, and others of the number. Feel free to help promulgate the number. We have also made a limited number of 1-800 bands available to banders, with priority given to pre-hunting season mallard banding in Canada and the northern US, and to goose banding in northern and central Canada. In 1997 we hope to go fully operational with 1-800 bands being available for all species of larger sized birds, game and nongame. In the meantime, please continue to use your regular bands.
The sole purpose of 1-800-327-BAND is to make it convenient for people to report recoveries of your banded birds. Please do not use this number to call us about other matters. The 1-800 number is NOT for reporting pigeon bands. The Bird Banding Laboratory does not keep any records on the bands used on pigeons. Please refer people who want to report pigeon bands to the Avian Service Center at 1-405-670-9400.
2. The Legal Scope of Banding Permits
Some reminders about what banding permits authorize and do not authorize are in order.
A banding permit basically authorizes one to capture, band, or otherwise mark (with an auxiliary marking authorization), migratory birds subject to the conditions specified on the permit, in the North American Bird Banding Manual, and in the Code of Federal Regulations. One may also salvage dead birds and hold them for up to six months, a reasonable amount of time to get them reposited in a properly permitted collection. One may hold live birds up to 24 hours to care for them if they are not in condition for immediate release. And with specific authorization from BBL, a bander may also take blood and/or feather samples from birds. This presently is allowed under an informal agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service which has responsibility for scientific collecting permits. We are working to formalize (codify) this arrangement which has proven to be convenient for both banders and the government.
A banding permit does not authorize one to:
Many of these activities that are not authorized under a banding permit can be authorized under other migratory bird permits. If in doubt about what is or is not authorized, please call BBL or your US Fish and Wildlife Service regional migratory bird coordinator.
3. Update to Species Numbers and Alpha Codes.
In order to conform with taxonomic and nomenclature changes, please make the following corrections to the band size list that was sent out with MTAB 79. Our apologies for the mass of corrections to be made to that listing! PLEASE START USING THESE NEW SPECIES NUMBERS ON ALL SCHEDULES STARTING NOW!
New and revised Species Numbers and alpha codes to accommodate splits
272.0 AMGP American Golden-Plover 2-3 272.1 PAGP Pacific Golden-Plover 2-3 272.9 LEGP Lesser Golden-Plover 2-3 462.1 CUPE Cuban Pewee 0-1C 462.3 JAPE Jamaican Pewee 0-1C 462.4 HIPE Hispaniolan Pewee 0-1C 464.0 COFL Cordilleran Flycatcher 0-0A 464.1 PSFL Pacific Slope Flycatcher 0-0A 464.9 WEFL Western Flycatcher 0-0A 479.0 FLSJ Florida Scrub-Jay 2-3 481.1 ISSJ Island Scrub-Jay 3 481.0 WESJ Western Scrub-Jay 2-3 549.0 SSTS Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow 1-1B 549.1 NSTS Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow 1-1B 549.9 STSP Sharp-tailed Sparrow 1-1B 757.1 BITH Bicknell's Thrush 1B 757.9 GCBT Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's Thrush 1B 782.0 HAAM Hawaii Amakihi 1-1B-1A 782.1 OAAM Oahu Amakihi 1-1B-1A 783.0 KAAM Kauai Amakihi 1-1B-1A 796.0 AKEK Akekee 0
Add AOU's 242.2 RNST Red-necked Stint 1B-1 466.4 SWFL Southwestern Willow Flycatcher 0 544.0 LBSP Large-billed Sparrow 1C 546.4 FGSP Florida Grasshopper Sparrow 1C-1 554.1 EWSP Eastern White-crowned Sparrow 1B 587.6 URTO Unknown Rufous-sided Towhee 2-1A 633.4 LBVI Least Bell's Vireo 0 746.1 JABW Japanese Bush-Warbler 0 747.5 LANW Lanceolated Warbler 0 742.4 OBNT Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush 1B
NAME AND/OR ALPHA CODE CHANGES ONLY
Alpha code updates
194.0 alpha code to GBHE 368.0 alpha code to BDOW 507.8 alpha code to BBOH 743.0 alpha code to BUSH 806.0 alpha code to LAVW
Name and alpha code changes
055.1 Common Black-headed Gull to BHGU Black-head Gull 121.0 Olivaceous Cormorant to NECO Neotropical Cormorant 201.0 Green-backed Heron to GRHE Green Heron 271.0 Greater Golden-Plover to EUGP Eurasian Golden-Plover 327.0 American Swallow-tailed Kite to STKI Swallow-tailed Kite 365.0 Common Barn-Owl to BNOW Barn Owl 377.0 Northern Hawk-Owl to NHOW Northern Hawk Owl 419.0 Common Pauraque to PAUR Pauraque 436.6 Prevosts Mango to GREM Green-breasted Mango 473.0 Eurasian Skylark to SKLA Sky Lark 535.4 Pallas' Reed-Bunting to PALB Pallas' Bunting 535.5 Common Reed-Bunting to REBU Reed Bunting 587.0 Rufous-sided Towhee to EATO Eastern Towhee 697.0 Water Pipit to AMPI American Pipit 698.3 Olive Tree-Pipit to OBPI Olive-backed Pipit 858.0 Island Swiftlet to GUSW Guam Swiftlet
Recommended Band Sizes, etc.
016.0 size 3B-3A 140.0 Change size to 4A - 5 for females 246.0 Change size to 1B 247.0 Change size to 1B 592.0 Add size 2 as an alternate size 741.0 Add 0A as an alternate size 471.0 Add 0A as an alternate size 715.0 Add 1C as an alternate size 727.0 Make nestling period 26 days 736.0 Add 1C as an alternate size 858.0 Change size to 0A-X
Address your comments on band size and taxonomic changes to Mary Gustafson.
4. More About Band Sizes and Band Availability
There seems to be some lingering confusion about band sizes. Currently, band sizes 0A, 0, 1C, 1, 1B, and 1A are all valid sizes with bands on order from manufacturers. Please specify the exact size that you want and only use new order forms with all sizes on them as sent out with the last MTAB. This will ensure that your order is filled correctly. Kinglets, Gnatcatchers and small warblers should only be banded with size 0A. If you received some bands from Lambournes with the size in mm on the outside and no US band size, you can identify the size by the last page of the new band size list that was sent out with the last MTAB.
Band availability continues to be a problem. Please do not add to the problem by ordering more than a 1-year supply. When bands are back-ordered, that means that we do not have any bands. Once bands have been back-ordered, please do not send another order. The bands will be sent as soon as they are available.
5. Submitting Banding Data and Related Matters
Please send any and all schedules for completed work as soon as possible. All 1995 banding data are overdue and should be sent to the BBL promptly (as well as earlier data). Schedules are all too routinely sent in at the end of the year. Data for all complete strings of 100 are due within 30 days of completion.
The official printed deadlines are as follows: The gamebird deadlines are especially important now that we have a 1-800 number for reporting band recoveries. We begin receiving calls within hours of the opening of hunting seasons.
Game birds Schedules due banded Jan. 16 - June 30 July 15 banded July 1 - Sept. 15 Monthly banded Sept. 16 - Jan. 15 Weekly
Nongame birds Completed strings are due within 30 days, and all incomplete schedules are due 30 days after completion of the project for the year. Schedules for any bird that is recovered are due upon receipt of the "up-for-banding" form letter (see next item). Please send schedules for the requested band and all previous bands that have been used and not reported.
BBL frequently receives band recovery reports before the bander has submitted the banding schedule(s). These are called "Up-for-Bandings". In the past, BBL has sent the bander a pink card (Form 3-860a) requesting banding data for the particular number. We followed up with a request for the banding schedule (Form BLL-20) if the schedule did not accompany or soon follow the bander's response to the pink card. As of September 3, 1996 both forms will be replaced by a single "Up-for-Banding" letter requesting a banding schedule. We ask your cooperation in promptly submitting your banding schedules so that we may respond positively to the band reporter with minimal delay.
The first time you report bandings at a new location, please identify these with an asterisk (*) in the location description block of the banding schedule. The Editing Section appreciates your assistance in this matter.
Computer programs for banders:
We are still having difficulties with BAND-OPS and are again asking banders that are trying this new system to get a new copy of the program from the www site at ftp://ftp.mp1-pwrc.usgs.gov/pub/software/band-ops [site and program no longer available 2004] or request a copy from Sabina Resau, National Ecological Surveys Team, Gabrielson Lab, 12100 Beech Forest Road Ste-4038, Laurel MD 20708-4038 301-497-5781, Fax Number 301-497-5784. Any program requested after June 10 is current. We can only process data from the newest version. The appropriate file to be submitted to BBL is an ASCII file, Pnnnnn.ASC, created by the program where nnnnn is your permit number. Label your disk with your name, permit number, record count and "BAND-OPS". Hard copies of schedules and banding location tables are required.
An updated species file will be sent to all CGS (computer-generated schedule) program users. Instructions for replacing the old file will be included.
Many banders are using look-up tables or Macros to assign AOU numbers to alpha codes or the reverse. Please use caution when using these features, as one mistyped character in an alpha code can lead to reporting the wrong species. Just ask all the banders that have recently reported banding Bachman's Warbler BAWA when they meant to type BWWA or BAWW. Also, check to see what happens with your own system if you modify the alpha code or the AOU in existing data. Which one does the computer change to match? If you use such conveniences you should check your data carefully before sending it, and you should be aware of its limitations!
New AOU's and file update:
For the following AOU's we are interested in updating our files to include records that may not have been previously computerized. Banders who have banded Barred x Spotted Owl hybrids prior to the new alpha code/AOU number should inform Karen Jones, editing section, of the band numbers of these hybrids so that they can be added to the file. Also, banders who have banded California Gnatcatcher as Black-tailed Gnatcatcher should notify us of these band numbers or locations if they have not already done so.
How You Can Help Us:
Please be as careful as you can when entering data onto schedules from field sheets. Transcription errors are a major cause of correspondence here at the lab. Errors in band numbers, species number, alpha codes, and ages are caught by edits, and transcription errors are a real problem.
Correspondence on the age/sex edit and data modification are back-logged but should be caught up soon. Thanks for your patience. Please help us by careful use of age L for all nestling or unflighted birds, and reserve HY for young capable of sustained flight. Remember that age 3 does not exist, and HY and U should not be used between January 1 and the start of the nesting season! Careful review of your final schedules before sending them is always a good idea.
Please do not use the wing chord data given in Pyle et al. to sex birds, especially HY's! Instead, use these data as a guide to species where you can work up data for sexing AHY's in your area, and either publish your data or send it to the BBL for approval before using it sex any birds. Data for AHY's should not be used to sex HY's, especially HY-F's. Remember that some of the information in Pyle et al. is not acceptable in the BBL! If you did not read about it in an MTAB, your data could be questioned or changed (and yes, you will be notified). The BBL is working to ensure that all information in the second edition of Pyle is acceptable in the BBL at the time of publication (hopefully in time for MAPS next year!).
When is a Yellow-rumped Warbler not a Yellow-rumped Warbler?
Banders are reminded that we have subspecies listed for several species. All too often banders use the wrong subspecies for their area or use the unknown option for all birds when it is only to be used for intermediate individuals. When there is an "unknown" option included, as in, Unknown Yellow-rumped Warbler (655.6) or Unidentified Dark-eyed Junco (567.7), this option should only be used for intermediates or
inderminate individuals. Another continuing problem is Rufous-sided Towhee, where the eastern subspecies (now species) has been commonly reported in the west instead of Spotted Towhee. With the new name change to Eastern Towhee this should be less of a problem. For species where vocalization is the best way to identify the new species, banders should use the overall name (e.g. Traill's Flycatcher or Western Flycatcher) for migrants within the area where both Alder and Willow, or Pacific-slope and Cordilleran Flycatchers occur in migration.
6. Electronic MTAB
Do you have e-mail? Are you willing to receive your future MTABs electronically? As an added feature of our new system, subpermittees are also able to sign up for their own direct MTAB by e-mail. The BBL has set up a server for official BBL use. This server has been specifically set up to send MTABs by e-mail to all interested banders. All banders, including subpermittees and agency banders can receive the MTAB electronically by clicking here to sign up. Once this list is in use, a general survey will be sent to participants regarding the sort of postings that they would like to receive on that list--if any. Please tell your subpermittees and Agency banders about the availability of this service. Remember, they may have e-mail even if you do not! Distributing MTAB's electronically will save paper, printing costs, postage and personnel time as well as allowing direct distribution to subpermittees.
7. Migration Monitoring
The Migration Monitoring Council, a joint cooperative program of the US and Canada, asks your help in determining the number and distribution of stations in North and Latin America that are actively monitoring the migration of birds. In this, they include the use of capture and banding, as well as counts of birds, at intensive field sites including bird observatories. This information is important in developing a cooperative program that tracks long term changes in landbird populations. They want information on sites that have been, or will be, operated regularly over at least several days during the spring or fall migration seasons. If you can provide information on migration monitoring sites, please contact Peter Blancher, Canadian Wildlife Service, NWRC, Hull, Quebec K1A 0H3 Canada (Fax: 819-953-6612; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact C. John Ralph, US Forest Service, Redwood Sciences Laboratory, 1700 Bayview Drive, Arcata CA 95521 (Fax: 707-822-5268; e-mail: email@example.com). You can also respond via a web site: http://www.mp1-pwrc.usgs.gov, click on birds, then go to migration monitoring.
8. Personnel Change
Band supply clerk Peggy Powell has accepted a new position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We will miss Peggy, and we wish her the best in her new position. We welcome Sylvia Windham as our new band supply clerk. Sylvia was formerly our Data Entry supervisor. Band orders may now be sent to Sylvia's attention.
9. New Band Type Codes
Several years ago, BBL redid the band size specifications and added several new band sizes. At that time we replaced the Avise address with a more complete one with the hope that a better address would allow more band reports to reach us. We are now using a toll-free telephone number on the larger band sizes and have been successful in getting some smaller bands in a harder metal alloy. These changes necessitated additional type codes and the system previously used was no longer sufficient. Please replace Figure 3-1, BBM Vol I, pg 3-4 with the enclosed band type code list.
The BBL is starting a new internship program offering interested persons the chance to volunteer in the BBL. All projects in the foreseeable future are indoors working with data and computers and not in the field, but interns are welcome to participate in field projects at Patuxent as time allows. Housing and a stipend of $10 per day can be provided; housing is usually available September to May but not during the summer. Length of appointment is somewhat flexible, especially for those with previous knowledge of birds and/or banding. Those with little to no experience are asked to make a longer commitment of 12 weeks, while appointments as short as two weeks may be possible. The Bird Banding Laboratory and all housing is located at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel MD. Patuxent has extensive woods and marshes and is located midway between Washington DC and Baltimore. Interested persons are encouraged to send a letter of interest to the BBL with dates of availability.
11. Address Change
Note that our address has been changed again. On October 1, 1996, the administrative responsibility for BBL was transferred from Inventory and Monitoring at headquarters, Washington, D.C., to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center at Laurel, MD. On the same date, BBL, along with Patuxent and the rest of the National Biological Service, was transferred to the US Geological Survey. Our physical location, phone numbers and e-mail addresses remain the same for now. Thank you for bearing with us during the organizational changes, budget cuts and staff cuts of the last three years.
12. Recent Literature
The Journal of Applied Statistics, Vol. 22, No.s 5 and 6, 1995, 1081 pages, is a special issue devoted to statistical analyses of data from marked birds. It contains the 40 state-of-the-art papers presented at the 1994 EURING Technical Conference held here at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. The papers cover estimation and modeling of avian survival, movement and recruitment; the application of ringing studies to evolutionary ecology and the conservation and management of bird populations; and the development of associated computer software. A limited number of copies are available for those with a serious interest in these technical subjects. Contact Dr. James Nichols, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Merriam Lab, 11510 American Holly Drive, Laurel, MD 20708-4017, phone number (301) 497-5660, e-mail address: James_Nichols@usgs.gov.
If you are not interested in the statistics of transition probabilities, or how the POPAN-4 program works, etc., but you like a good human interest story, then four fairly recent books by long time banders might appeal to you.
Oregon bander Jim Anderson wrote Tales from a Northwest Naturalist in 1992. It has great pictures and numerous stories about various adventures and misadventures in banding and other outdoor endeavors. Caxton Printers, Ltd. Caldwell, ID 83605.
In the 1930s, Wisconsin bander Fran Hamerstrom traded the genteel life of Boston society for "love, adventure and public service in the unmapped wilds of central Wisconsin." She became a pioneer raptor biologist and bander, and author of 12 books and 150 papers. Now she has written her story, My Double Life: Memoirs of a Naturalist. 1994. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 53715.
Michigan bander Fred Ludwig received his banding permit in 1924. Hundreds of thousands of birds later, he's still going and has written his life story in the 1995 The Life and Times of a Country Doctor. It contains much on his experiences as a WWII medical officer in the Pacific. Walkabout Ink, Port Huron, MI 48060.
California bander H. Elliot McClure's 1995 book is Stories I like to Tell: An Autobiography. It contains much on the natural history and peoples of southeast Asia, where he banded thousands of birds and ran the original MAPS project, the Migratory Animals Pathological Survey. Elliot McClure, 69 E Loop Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010.
Four easy reading, delightful books from four great banders. We thank them for all they have done for birds, and for sharing their lives with us. Banders are the most interesting people!
BAND MATERIAL/STYLE CODE TRANSLATIONS as of January 21, 1997
00 = unknown\unknown 01 = aluminum\butt-end toll free 02 = aluminum\lock-on toll free 03 = aluminum\tall toll free 04 = aluminum\butt-end new address 05 = aluminum\lock-on new address 06 = aluminum\rivet toll free 07 = aluminum\short toll free 08 = aluminum\pre-open toll free 09 = aluminum\short new address 10 = aluminum\rivet new address 11 = aluminum\butt end 12 = aluminum\lock-on 13 = aluminum\tall 14 = aluminum\wrap around 15 = aluminum\flipper 16 = aluminum\rivet 17 = aluminum\short 18 = aluminum\pre-open 19 = aluminum\tall new address 20 = aluminum\pre-open new address 21 = monel\butt end 22 = monel\lock-on 23 = monel\butt-end toll free 24 = monel\lock-on toll free 28 = monel\pre-open 29 = monel\pre-open toll free 31 = titanium\butt end 49 = incoloy or Stainless\new address 50 = incoloy or Stainless\butt-end new address 51 = incoloy or Stainless\butt end 52 = incoloy or Stainless\lock on 53 = incoloy or Stainless\butt-end toll free 54 = incoloy or Stainless\lock-on toll free 55 = incoloy or Stainless\flipper 56 = incoloy or Stainless\rivet 57 = incoloy or Stainless\rivet toll free 58 = incoloy or Stainless\triangular toll free 59 = incoloy or Stainless\triangular 60 = bimetallic\no address 61 = bimetallic\butt end 62 = bimetallic\lock-on 63 = bimetallic\tall 64 = incoloy or Stainless\triangular new address 66 = bimetallic\rivet 67 = bimetallic\short 68 = bimetallic\pre-open 71 = bimetallic\butt end toll free 72 = bimetallic\lock-on toll free 73 = bimetallic\tall toll free 76 = bimetallic\rivet toll free 77 = bimetallic\short toll free 78 = bimetallic\pre-open toll free 91 = misc\butt end 99 = No band manufactured (e.g. vulture bands)