Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of April 17, 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 32,325 1,706
Alcids 286,778 6,295
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,062,618 687,453
Ducks 13,668,447 2,138,097
Geese 5,718,629 1,467,697
Swans 36,309 19,730
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 480,256 17,340
Shorebirds 974,135 18,519
Doves and Pigeons 2,831,503 151,917
Raptors (including Owls) 2,265,063 79,610
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,005,892 481,552

*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