Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of July 24, 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 32,712 1,720
Alcids 287,828 6,318
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,074,513 716,386
Ducks 13,682,804 2,140,074
Geese 5,743,836 1,473,107
Swans 36,310 19,893
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 480,575 17,364
Shorebirds 983,052 18,932
Doves and Pigeons 2,832,220 152,055
Raptors (including Owls) 2,271,407 80,683
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,137,176 483,039

*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