Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of April 23, 2018 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 33,287 1,770
Alcids 292,765 6,419
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,118,614 720,094
Ducks 13,847,295 2,176,276
Geese 5,842,066 1,521,498
Swans 36,493 20,376
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 482,497 17,588
Shorebirds 992,221 19,542
Doves and Pigeons 2,886,443 155,659
Raptors (including Owls) 2,319,368 83,227
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,619,114 498,531

*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