Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of October 16, 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 32,725 1,736
Alcids 288,285 6,320
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,089,321 717,580
Ducks 13,799,237 2,146,177
Geese 5,826,901 1,489,190
Swans 36,369 19,963
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 481,589 17,434
Shorebirds 983,984 19,160
Doves and Pigeons 2,879,642 155,086
Raptors (including Owls) 2,280,245 81,307
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,226,021 485,698

*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