Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of December 11, 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 32,943 1,742
Alcids 290,337 6,350
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,109,976 718,182
Ducks 13,822,823 2,156,941
Geese 5,839,096 1,499,524
Swans 36,402 20,052
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 481,649 17,475
Shorebirds 987,882 19,351
Doves and Pigeons 2,880,326 155,288
Raptors (including Owls) 2,288,749 81,913
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,324,697 490,102

*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