Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of May 22, 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 32,361 1,711
Alcids 287,369 6,299
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,065,936 687,708
Ducks 13,677,129 2,138,875
Geese 5,719,434 1,468,877
Swans 36,310 19,814
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 480,326 17,355
Shorebirds 975,625 18,673
Doves and Pigeons 2,831,652 151,965
Raptors (including Owls) 2,266,227 80,124
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,033,918 482,007

*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