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Age (Year Class) Codes

NUMERIC
CODE
ALPHA
CODE
ALPHA
TRANSLATION
DESCRIPTION
0 U Unknown A bird that cannot be placed in any classes below . Except in cases where data were not recorded or have been lost during the nesting season, ONLY BIRDS BANDED AFTER THE BREEDING SEASON AND BEFORE JANUARY 1 CAN BE CORRECTLY CODED "U".
1 AHY After Hatching Year A bird known to have hatched before the calendar year of banding; year of hatch otherwise unknown. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched before January 1, 1997. Birds that would have been coded "U" on December 31 "graduate" to class "AHY" on January 1.
2 HY Hatching Year A bird capable of sustained flight and known to have hatched during the calendar year in which it was banded. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched 1997.
3 J Juvenile Nestling or recent fledgling, Unable to determine which new code to use.
4 L Local A young bird incapable of sustained flight. After a young bird achieves sustained flight it becomes an "HY" until December 31.
5 SY Second Year A bird known to have hatched in the calendar year preceding the year of banding and in its second calendar year of life. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched 1996.
6 ASY After Second Year A bird known to have hatched earlier than the calendar year preceeding the year of banding; year of hatch otherwise unknown. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched 1995 or earlier.
7 TY Third Year A bird known to have hatched in the calendar year two years prior to the year of banding, now in its third calendar year of life. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched 1995.
8 ATY After Third Year A bird known to have hatched prior to two years prior to the year of banding, now in at least its fourth calendar year of life. Example: Banded 1997 - Hatched 1994 or earlier.

 

How Aged Codes

(Codes marked as "current" represent new codes in version 4 of Bandit. Until v.4 is released, continue to use "discontinued" codes)
CODE DESCRIPTION CODE STATUS AGE CODE MOSTLY USED WITH COMMENTS
AM Auxiliary Marker on bird at capture current Any age Birds with auxiliary markers (like web tags) and no Federal band or with foreign bands may be micro-aged. Can be used with recaptures for ages beyond SY, TY
BO Behavioral observation current HY, AHY Includes singing, incubation, mating/copulation, etc.
BP Brood patch current AHY Generally used for How Sexed, but can be used to age AHY only.
BU Bursa of Fabricius current Most useful in waterfowl
CA Calendar current AHY For AHY (instead of Unknown) between January 1st and beginnning of normal fledge time, depending on species, latitude. For birds that can't safely be called SY.
CC Combination of characteristics/measurements current Any Age Characteristics or measurements that, alone, would not be usable. Describe in Remarks
CL Cloaca current Any Age Waterfowl cloacal exam, male cloacal protuberance, distended cloaca of female shorebirds.
EG Egg in oviduct current AHY Generally used for How Sexed, but can be used for AHY
EY Eye color current HY, SY, AHY, ASY
FB Fault bar current HY,SY Uniform fault bar on juvenile tail feathers (Fig. 19 in Pyle, vol 1, Fig. 18 in vol. 2), sometimes in juvenile remiges.
FF Feather condition of flight feathers (remiges) current HY, SY, AHY, ASY Wear or freshness of primaries and secondaries
IC Inconclusive, Conflicting current U, AHY, ASY Generally used with age U, but can be with AHY or ASY if micro-ageing characteristics are conflicting or inconclusive.
LP Molt limit present current HY, SY (passerines); greater than HY (raptors) In passerines can distinguish HY from AHY (Fall) or SY from ASY (Spring) in secondary coverts or alula. Or in raptors, among secondaries and primaries (AHY, SY, ASY, TY, ATY)
MB Mouth/bill current HY, AHY, SY Refers to mouth/bill color, or bill shape, culmen length, striations (hummingbirds), depending on species
MR Actively-molting remiges current AHY Useful in late Summer/early Fall for AHY in species with partial preformative molt. Not to be used with species that have a complete pre-formative molt.
NA Not attempted current U Age U only
NF Nestling recently fledged, incapable of powered flight current L Usually ages L, but HY under certain circumatances.
NL No molt limit current In Passerines, can distinguish AHY from HY (Fall) or ASY from SY (Spring) in secondary coverts or alula. Or in raptors, among secondaries and primaries (HY, SY)
NN Nestling in nest (altricials), downy young (precocials) current L Use for age "L" only. This does NOT mean an adult who has young in nest.
OT Other current Any Age Explain how aged in Remarks
PC Primary covert wear and/or shape current Primary Covert shape can be used (with experience) for ageing many species. Primary covert wear is especially useful for ageing woodpeckers (Pyle fig. 122)
PL Body Plumage current HY, SY, AHY, ASY Color of or patterns in body feathers, including head, breast, back, coverts.
RC Re-captured bird with USGS band current Any Age Can be used with recaptures for ages beyond SY, TY
SK Skull current HY, AHY, (SY) Most useful for HY vs AHY. Some individuals are slow to pneumaticize and can be called SY after December 31.
TL Tail length current Only useful for ageing in a few species.
TS Tail shape or wear current HY, SY, AHY, ASY Generally, badly worn and/or pointed in HY,SY and less worn or rounded in AHY, ASY
0 cloacal examination (waterfowl only) discontinued Combined with code CL
1 adult plumage discontinued Included in code PL
2 juvenal plumage discontinued Included in code PL
3 eye color discontinued Replaced by code EY
A nestling in nest--no flight feathers present discontinued Included in code NN
B nestling in nest--flight feathers in pin discontinued Included in code NN
C nestling recently fledged, incapable of powered flight discontinued Replaced by code NF
F feather wear in the flight feathers discontinued Included in code FF
J retained juvenal plumage (wispy tertials/notched tail etc) discontinued This code overlapped with other codes (molt limit, etc.) and was often misused
L molt limit present discontinued Included in code LP
M multiple ages of remiges (wing feathers) discontinued Included in code LP, often confused with "L"
N molt limit absent discontinued Included in code NL, often confused with "M"
P primary covert shape and/or primary feather shape/wear discontinued Partly included in codes PC and FF. This code was mostly misused to mean "Plumage".
S skulling (not including pinhole windows) discontinued Replaced by code SK
T tail shape and tail wear discontinued Replaced by code TS
W pinhole windows (see skulling) discontinued Included in code SK
X not attempted discontinued Replaced by code NA
Z web tag (or other auxiliary marker) discontinued Replaced by code AM