Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of February 19, 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 33,183 1,754
Alcids 291,561 6,366
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,115,203 719,333
Ducks 13,828,379 2,170,577
Geese 5,841,482 1,513,393
Swans 36,428 20,213
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 482,288 17,545
Shorebirds 989,772 19,426
Doves and Pigeons 2,886,133 155,537
Raptors (including Owls) 2,311,900 82,399
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,537,642 495,330

*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