Bird Banding Laboratory


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Banding and Encounter Data Requests

Banding and encounter data are available for research purposes. Individual banding data records exist electronically starting in 1960. Pre-1960 banding data are available only for birds that have been encountered. Individual encounter data are available from 1913.

How to cite data provided by the BBL

Banding data consist of all fields currently being loaded into our database. See http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/MANUAL/summary.cfm for a list of those fields with links to translate the codes.

Encounter data include the banding and encounter data for all birds that have been re-encountered (recaptured, hunted, found dead, etc.). See http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/MANUAL/enc.cfm for a list of those fields with links to translate the codes.

A request for data should include:

In the U.S., send your request to:

Danny Bystrak at dbystrak@usgs.gov

In Canada, send your request to:

Louise Laurin at louise.laurin@ec.gc.ca

If you wish to discuss your request, you may call Danny Bystrak at 301-497-5796, or in Canada call Louise Laurin at 613-998-0524.

Once the request is received at the Bird Banding Lab, allow 3 - 6 weeks to receive the data (it usually takes less time). We will include our Policy for Release and Use of Banding and Encounter Data.

You may need to translate some of the coded fields in your data or may want more details about how to interpret some fields. Please consult the Banding and Encounter data codes and descriptions page of our website for translations. Certain data files will contain codes that are now considered obsolete, but these codes are included on the aforementioned page.

How to cite data provided by the BBL used in publications

Data retrieved directly from the BBL database should be cited as follows:

USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. <year>. North American bird banding and band encounter data set. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. <date data file was created>. (The create date of the file is typically embedded in the file name.)

Because the BBL database is being constantly updated, the date each request was created is important and should be provided to the recipient and included in the citation.

Data retrieved from the biannual release of the Gamebirds database ("CD"):

USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. <year of release>. Game bird banding and encounter data. Version <year of release with first or second version> Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. (ftp://ftpext.usgs.gov/pub/er/md/laurel/BBL/GameBirds_CD)

Example for second release of year that typically occurs in June or July:

USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. 2017. Game bird banding and encounter data. Version 2017.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. (ftp://ftpext.usgs.gov/pub/er/md/laurel/BBL/GameBirds_CD)