Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of September 18, 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 32,715 1,734
Alcids 287,946 6,318
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,083,772 717,279
Ducks 13,736,870 2,142,221
Geese 5,793,753 1,480,758
Swans 36,344 19,934
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 481,238 17,420
Shorebirds 983,736 19,084
Doves and Pigeons 2,876,137 154,442
Raptors (including Owls) 2,278,238 81,085
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,195,012 484,829

*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