Bird Banding Laboratory


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How many birds are banded?

As of November 20, 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 32,942 1,739
Alcids 290,335 6,335
Gulls/Terns/Albatross/other Seabirds 8,092,913 717,836
Ducks 13,818,753 2,152,737
Geese 5,838,931 1,496,296
Swans 36,402 20,013
Herons/Ibis/Rails/other Marsh Birds 481,625 17,455
Shorebirds 986,567 19,252
Doves and Pigeons 2,879,883 155,231
Raptors (including Owls) 2,283,996 81,715
Near Passerines and Passerines 38,282,697 488,204

*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