The North American Bird Banding Program is directed in the United States by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL), Eastern Ecological Science Center at the Patuxent Research Refuge (EESC) and in Canada by the Bird Banding Office (BBO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The respective banding offices have similar functions and policies and use the same bands, reporting forms and data formats. Data contributors are US and Canadian bird banding permit holders: federal, state, tribal, local government, non-government agencies, business, university and avocational biologists. Bird banders capture wild birds and mark them with a metal leg band with a unique 9-digit number. Extra markers may be added. Attributes of a bird such as age, sex, condition, molt and morphometrics may be taken before the bird is released. This long-term dataset is made up of over 76 million bird banding records with over 1,000 species, and 5 million encounter records with nearly 800 species. Federal bands are used on species included in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Banding, encounter and recapture records are available for years 1960 to present. The data is curated at BBL on a daily basis, therefore each yearly version may differ from previous releases. The BBL produces one data release annually, beginning in 2020. Each yearly release is available for request. Data quality is established by contributors submitting their data. Incoming data must pass automatic validation rules to meet quality standards, and in some cases additional validation is conducted by staff at BBL and BBO. It is imperative to understand the codes used by the BBL and BBO. In early days of storage space restrictions for electronic data, an efficient system of codes was developed. Some examples include: bird status code, coordinate precision, inexact date, minimum age at encounter. BBL terminology is important as well: an encounter refers to a sighting or direct encounter with a banded or auxiliary-marked bird by any person; recapture denotes a banded bird recaptured during banding operations; recovery refers a harvested gamebird. Please cite as: Celis-Murillo A, M Malorodova, E Nakash. 2021. North American Bird Banding Dataset 1960-2021 retrieved 2021-07-25. U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Ecological Science Center at the Patuxent Research Refuge.