Bird Banding Laboratory



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The Responsibility of the Bander in Marking Birds

Banders soliciting reports of auxiliary-marked birds from the public should encourage the use of our web-reporting page,

It may be necessary to forward auxiliary marker reports from the public to the bander for a response, but if auxiliary markers are reported properly in Bandit, reports from the public will be processed as efficiently as Federal band reports.

Please remember that there are a limited number of colors available for auxiliary markers, so plan projects with the fewest colors possible. Existing color-marking authorizations have priority if there are potential conflicts. It may, therefore, be necessary for the Bird Banding offices to inform other researchers of a proposed project or require banders to do so. In this way potential conflicts can be worked out ahead of time. Protocols have been established for marking certain species of waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, etc. Banders may have less flexibility when marking such birds, and should contact the appropriate Banding Offices prior to submitting a request to determine available colors or marker types.

Reporting Marking Activity in Bandit

Auxiliary-marked birds also require special "status and additional information codes" in Bandit. Banders using auxiliary markers should become familiar with these codes, particularly in the case of two or more marker types on one bird. Do not add an auxiliary marker to any previously banded birds without permission. This constitutes a status change and places a serious record keeping burden on the Bird Banding Laboratory.

Adding Auxiliary Markers to Previously Banded Birds

The addition of auxiliary markers to previously-banded birds constitutes the changing of a bird's status, which is specifically excluded under the conditions of the banding permit. The process of changing the status of previously-banded birds is strongly discouraged, as it adds an extra burden on the banding offices and alters previously-submitted data on the status of the bird. Banders are strongly encouraged to design their research projects using only newly banded birds as much as is possible. In cases where this is not feasible (endangered species or declining populations; limited geographical scope, etc.) permission to add markers should be requested in writing (email) from the BBL or BBO. If approved, banders will be required to report all birds with markers added via Bandit (v. 3.01) or the Web Reporting Page ( The “How Obtained” for such birds should be “Captured by bander, status of bird changed”. The “Remarks” should include the statement “Status changed by bander” and a description of the markers that were added. All of this applies to any status change to a recaptured bird, including blood sampling.

"Vulture Bandings"

Banders working with Black and Turkey Vultures are required to report their auxiliary-marking activity to the BBL even though these species are not banded with Federal bands. Vultures are typically marked with either patagial markers or radio transmitters, but without the Federal band we have no way to keep track of marked vultures or vulture encounters in our database.

To get around this difficulty, we issue band numbers to vulture banders exclusively for use with vultures. These are considered size "8V" bands, but the bands do not actually exist. The band numbers are matched to the individual bird's patagial marker or radio transmitter. Vulture banders are encouraged to request "8V" band numbers as they would order any other band. When the green confirmation sheet arrives without bands, sign and return it after recording the band numbers issued to you. Report each marked vulture as a separate band number, filling out a banding report as for any other species.

Status Codes

Requesting Auxiliary Marking Authorizations

Go to Bird Banding and Marking Permits