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Bird Banding Laboratory
Science Center Objects
The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America. This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the status and trends of bird populations are critical for identifying and understanding many ecological issues and for developing effective science, management and conservation practices.
The BBL, since 1923 and in collaboration with the Bird Banding Office (BBO) of the Canadian Wildlife Service, administer the North American Bird Banding Program (NABBP), which manages more than 77 million archived banding records and more than 5 million records of encounters. In addition, each year approximately 1 million bands are shipped from the BBL to banders in the United States and Canada, and nearly 100,000 band encounter reports are submitted into the BBL systems.
Following the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and its associated Federal regulations (16 U.S.C. 703-712), a Federal Bird Banding and Marking Permit is required to conduct all bird banding and/or marking activities.
- Obtain a federal permit
- Renew your permit
- Modify your permit (including adding new subpermitees)
- Ethics and responsibilities of bird banders
If you already have a federal permit or sub-permit to band birds, sign in to the new Bander Portal to do the following:
- View and update your contact information
- View your list of subpermittees, band inventory and banding locations
- Order bands from BBL, request bands transfer and confirm bands as received
- Define access to menu options for your subpermitees
- View tables of valid codes for various banding data fields (e.g. age, sex, etc.) and recommended band sizes by species
- Download your inventory
In the future, data will be submitted through the bander portal, but in the meantime use Bandit (The Information Manager for Banding Operations) to submit data.
- Report a band at www.reportband.gov
- Obtain your Certificate of Appreciation
- About federal bands
- About auxiliary markers
Learn more about the BBL:
- Why do we band birds?
- Bird Banding at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
- Bird Banding Laboratory: Recent Accomplishments
- The U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory: An Integrated Scientific Program Supporting Research and Conservation of North American Birds By Gregory J. Smith (2013)
- The U.S. Geological Survey Report of the Federal Advisory Committee on the Bird Banding Laboratory By Susan D. Haseltine et al. (2008)
- The North American Bird Banding Program: Into the 21st Century Executive Summary By P.A. Buckley et al. (1995)
- A History of the Bird Banding Laboratory: 1920-2002
- Historical Banding Notes since 1922 (Memos to All Banders)
Bird Banding Laboratory
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708