Bird Banding Laboratory

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USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Bird Banding Laboratory
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708-4037

November 22, 2011

To:   All Banders

From:  Chief, Bird Banding Laboratory

Subject:  Upgrading from Bandit 2.01 or earlier to Bandit v 3.01

WARNING – You must read this announcement completely before installing Bandit Version 3.01.  All users, and especially Windows Vista users, should be certain that they have saved the most current backup file and that they know where it is stored.  With Vista it has been found that the “restore” that is done upon installation occasionally does not restore the most recent backup or any at all.  In such cases it will be necessary to do a “Restore From Backup” after installation.
Carefully read this announcement before downloading the software and keep a copy of it available to use as a reference during installation. 
There are five significant changes that you should be aware of:

1)      We have completely revamped the “Locations” page.  It now has a “Table” and a “Details” view like the “Bands” page and can be sorted and searched.   More importantly, we added a field for nearest town or other identifiable places (like mountain peaks) with mileage and direction fields if needed.  This change is significant, because, after you install and update your old files, you will find that all of your locations are highlighted as “errors”.  In this case the “error” is that the place field is blank.  You will need to update your locations so they each have this field populated (and mileage and direction if necessary).  However, for banders with many locations, remember that you only need to do this if and when you will be using that location again, or if you intend to submit modifications on records associated with those locations.  This change was necessary because we need to be able to verify banding coordinates by computer rather than spending excessive staff time doing it by hand.  We realize that modern technology makes the verification step seem antiquated to many banders but, unfortunately we still find hundreds of banding location errors every year.

2)      Modified records are no longer submitted automatically when new records are submitted.  You must choose to submit modified records separately.  REMINDER -- If you do not have an email client such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Eudora, etc. established, your submission files will not be sent automatically, even though Bandit says “submitted”.  If you do not receive an automated email response from Karen Jones, we most likely did not receive the file.

3)      Many species names have been changed to bring us up-to-date with recent AOU activity.  If your data include any of these species (see list under “Release Notes” on the opening screen of Bandit) you will need to follow some simple steps to bring your file up-to-date.  After you have upgraded and are asked to keep your old data, the birds whose names have changed will remain as their old names.   They will not show as errors, but if you want to bring your file up-to-date, you will need to go to “Settings” and choose “Numeric” on the “Data Entry Preferences” tab.  Wait for the conversion to finish, then, on the same tab, choose “Alpha”, this will bring all of them back with their new 4-letter codes.   VERY IMPORTANT!!!! -- If you choose to update species names, do it BEFORE you start entering any new data, because after the conversion back to alpha, all of your records will be considered modified.  Therefore you must mark all records as submitted (that option is in the drop-down for “Records” at the top of the screen.  You must be on the “Bands” page at the time.)

4)      The recapture module has many improvements and should be a more useful tool to banders who maintain recapture records in Bandit.  All recaptures can now be submitted in Bandit 3.01, but at this point, only foreign recaptures from another permit and certain local recaptures will be loaded into the BBL database; local recaptures with how obtained codes 29, 33, 52, 89, and 99 will NOT be loaded.  This will facilitate the submission of local recapture records we need stored in the BBL database, such as birds whose status is changed.  Banders who use Bandit 3.01 to submit foreign recaptures should not submit them again at   Certificates of Appreciation will not be sent for any recapture records submitted via Bandit.  Instead, banders will receive a “Banding report for recaptures” which will include the banding data for any bands not issued to their permit.  This report will be sent via email the Saturday following the date the report is processed into the BBL database, similar to the “Report to Bander”.  If you would like to receive a Certificate of Appreciation for a recapture report, it must be submitted at  No recapture records will be processed from Bandit versions 2.01 and earlier.    

5)   Changes relating to auxiliary marker codes for various electronic devices were made.  If you are using transmitters, PIT tags, geolocators, etc. it is important that you upgrade.  Not only have we added new codes for the “Aux Marker” portion of Bandit, but we have added new “Additional Information” codes for the Status Code field.  We are now distinguishing between satellite and VHF transmitters (making the old a.i. code of 89 obsolete), and we have added a code for dataloggers, including geolocators.  Previously we have asked banders to use a.i. code 85 (misc.) for dataloggers.  Finally we have a new code (75) for PIT tags.  In the Aux Marker Type field you will notice that each of these new codes has an A through G sub code that describes the method of attachment.

Banders using wing tags on birds should also note that, on the Aux Marker page we have broken Aux Marker Type code 39 into 39A, 39B and 39C to distinguish wing, back and head markers.  This change does not affect the a.i. code; it remains 39 for all.

Following is a bulleted list of some of other noteworthy changes:

·         For those who import banding or recapture data: on the Field Mapping Screen the field formerly called Banding Date is now called Banding Recapture Date and it is farther down in the list.  This unfortunate change was needed to make it clearer that the same field is used in both the banding and recapture areas.  The name should be Banding OR Recapture Date.

·         Added three new species:

o   1441 -- Muscovy Duck (MUDU)

o   3651 -- Ashy-faced Owl (AFOW)

o   6113 -- Caribbean Martin (CAMA)

·         Added  two  species “splits” (unlike the name changes above, you will need to modify the codes for these species yourself):

o   4172 -- Mexican Whip-poor-will (MWPW)(formerly with Eastern Whip-poor-will 4170)

o   7221 -- Pacific Wren (PAWR)(formerly with Winter Wren 7220)

·         Other changes to “Location” tab:

o   In the Details view  a link to Google Maps has been added.  This link will only work if you have a high-speed internet connection.  You can zoom in on the map based on your nearest town, mileage and direction, the location description, or the coordinates (The description will not appear on the Certificate of Appreciation, only the nearest town will).  The map is “clickable” to obtain coordinates.

o   You can quickly show all bandings and recaptures related to a location.

o   We strongly encourage banders to use actual street addresses in the “Description” field.

·         There is now an option to choose whether or not you use an email client such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Eudora, etc.  If you use web mail instead, that choice will decrease the chance of computer crashes.  Using web mail also means your files (both new and modified) will not be sent automatically.  You will need to locate the submission file in the “My Documents” folder on your computer and attach it to an email to  You can also include any comments in this email.

·         Error-checking files have been updated so fewer records will be flagged as potential errors.

·         Some simpler operations now have an “undo” option.

·         Wing and weight tables have been improved.

·         Backup files can be created at any time, instead of only when the program is started.

A complete list of changes in Bandit version 3.0 and 3.01 is found in the “Release Notes” section of the opening screen after the installation is complete.  It is also in the Bandit User Manual.

Please note that Bandit version 1.03 has been removed from the BBL website, and we will stop accepting data from that version soon.  Banders using this and older versions of Bandit must see section 13.2 of the Bandit User Manual for special instructions.

We will not produce a special version of Bandit v. 3.01 for Windows 2000 and earlier operating systems.  If you still use these old operating systems, continue using the special edition of version 2.01.

Thank you for your prompt attention to the update.  For details, please refer to the Bandit User Manual at the BBL website.  If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to call our Bandit help line at 301-497-5566 or email the Bandit help desk (