Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of August 14, 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 32,714 1,731
Alcids 287,837 6,321
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,080,512 717,063
Ducks 13,684,289 2,141,060
Geese 5,755,774 1,473,616
Swans 36,340 19,912
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 480,847 17,380
Shorebirds 983,491 19,011
Doves and Pigeons 2,836,563 152,123
Raptors (including Owls) 2,274,085 80,893
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,158,472 483,577

*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