Bird Banding Laboratory



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International Protocols for Marking Birds

These protocols are being followed by banders in Canada and the USA. Some including the leg flag protocol of the Pan American Shorebird Program and the Arctic Goose Joint Venture are coordinated beyond North America. Banders using bands issued by the BBL or CWS must follow these protocols.

Neck Collar Protocols

Neck collars are used to individually identify birds at a distance. The combination of the codes and the color of the collar are unique and allow identification of individual birds in the distance.

Colored Leg Band Protocols

For many species including most small songbirds, there are too many banders using color bands at a local scale for the birds to be identifiable at the continental scale. Most of the colored leg band protocols use coded tarsal bands.

Leg Flags

Leg Flags are used as country identifiers in the Pan American Shorebird Project, and as state identifiers by Least Tern Researchers. Recently, an orange flag has been used to identify Common Terns banded in Argentina.

Pan American Shorebird Project