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Special Band Types

Prior authorization may be required from the banding office for ordering specialty bands. Some specialty bands must be order and paid for by the bander.


These bands are available in sizes 4 to 9, except for size 4A, and have a special crimping flange, thus "locking" the band around the bird's leg and making removal very difficult. Lock-on bands are made of thinner metal than butt-end bands and are inferior for use on most species. They are normally reserved for use on raptors and certain other birds capable of removing butt-end bands.


These bands are available in size 9 only and are strictly for use on eagles. They are the same gauge and material as standard butt-end, size-9 band. Rivets will be supplied by the Bird Banding Offices when the band orders are filled. A pop-rivet tool or hand riveter capable of holding 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) diameter rivets must be obtained by the bander.


Banders requiring bands of harder metal, different alloys, or other specifications (for example, Murre bands) should contact one of the Banding Offices to determine whether these can be obtained. The cost of manufacture will normally be absorbed by the bander in the US, and may be in Canada. For bands ordered to the banders specifications (special issues), band numbers will be assigned by the Bird Banding Offices.

Hummingbird banding requires special authorization from the appropriate Banding Office PRIOR to ordering bands. Hummingbird bands are issued only to banders who have received training on the specialized banding techniques and are authorized to band these species. Hummingbird bands use a single letter for the prefix and five numbers for the suffix. The letter prefix is translated into a numeric equivalent for reporting to the BBL as indicated below:















The very small size of these bands is impractical to issue them in a pre-formed condition. Hence, bands are issued on flat sheets with pre-printed band numbers. The bands must be carefully cut from these sheets, trimmed, the edges smoothed, and the band shaped before use. The techniques for creating hummingbird bands are rapidly changing. Cutting out individual bands with scissors is no longer viewed as acceptable and all hummingbird banders are urged to consult with other banders in the hummingbird banding community to ensure that the most appropriate band-making techniques are being followed and the appropriate-sized bands are used on each species.
 The following general guidance on preparing different band sizes was obtained from S. M. Russell and R. O. Russell 2001. The North American Banders’ Manual for Banding Hummingbirds. North American Banding Council (Point Reyes, California):

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