Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of March 27, 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 32,296 1,702
Alcids 286,761 6,281
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,062,056 687,310
Ducks 13,660,001 2,137,729
Geese 5,718,607 1,466,552
Swans 36,309 19,666
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 480,213 17,334
Shorebirds 973,681 18,487
Doves and Pigeons 2,831,183 151,884
Raptors (including Owls) 2,263,472 79,418
Near Passerines and Passerines 37,982,919 480,198

*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