Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of November 13, 2017 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 32,937 1,739
Alcids 289,493 6,331
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,091,371 717,800
Ducks 13,815,230 2,151,459
Geese 5,838,606 1,495,611
Swans 36,400 20,008
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 481,622 17,453
Shorebirds 986,364 19,247
Doves and Pigeons 2,879,837 155,212
Raptors (including Owls) 2,281,806 81,640
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,261,989 487,141

*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