Frequently Asked Questions

Biology and Ecosystems

USGS science is used by other agencies to help conserve species, lands, resources, and priority ecosystems.

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Image: Agapostemon Splendens Sweat Bee
There are nearly 20,000 known bee species in the world, and 4,000 of them are native to the United States (an estimated 400 additional native bee species remain to be identified in the U.S.). From the tiny and solitary Perdita minima, known as the world’s smallest bee, to the large carpenter bee, to the brilliant blue of the mason bee; native bees...
Bird Bands
Most bird bands are made of an aluminum alloy and have unique numbers engraved. These numbers can wear off with time to the point that one or more numbers become illegible. The time that it takes for a bird band number to wear off depends on the habits of that bird species and the amount of time that it spends in the water. For instance, a band on...
Location and abundance of ducks captured and banded in Suisun Marsh
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. To make a data request go to the Banding and Encounter Data page.
Resources for Banders
Use the Bander Portal to: View and update your contact information, List subpermittees, band inventory, and locations associated with your permit, Order bands and confirm bands as received, Request transferral of bands TO your permit or FROM your permit to another permit, Define which menu options subpermitees have permission to access, View...
Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
If you already have a federal permit or sub permit to band birds, sign in to the Bander Portal to order bands and/or confirm bands as received.
Bandit Opening Screen
Bird banding and band recapture data from banding activities must be submitted to the Bird Banding Laboratory using Bandit, The Information Manager for Banding Operations. Bandit is desktop software (not a website) that must be downloaded to your computer. The software is available for both PCs and Macs.
Bird Banding Supplies
To renew or make changes to existing bird banding permits, use the links below: ●      Request a sub-permit ●      Change in the responsible individual for a Master Station Banding Permit ●      Permit inactivation ●      Permit reactivation ●      Renew your permit ●      Request color and auxiliary marking permission Additional information is on...
BBL Federal Permit
A Federal Bird Banding and Marking Permit is required whenever someone wants to place a bird band or any type of marker on a wild bird that is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or on a federally-protected bird that will be released into the wild. To obtain a permit, visit the General Permit Information webpage of the Bird Banding...
 Bird being banded with a USGS federal band at BBL fall migration monitoring station
Bird banding has long been recognized as an important research tool that has substantially improved our understanding of many aspects of avian biology and provided critical information for the management and conservation of bird populations. It is normally safe when proper techniques and equipment are carefully employed by trained banders who...
Newly banded palila nestling
No, banding does not hurt birds. When proper techniques and equipment are carefully employed, it’s a safe procedure for birds. Trained banders, who apply their expertise and thoughtfulness towards the health and well-being of the birds, follow strict procedures based on the Bander’s ethic code.
Canada Goose with Leg Band and Neck Collar
Certificates of appreciation are given to people who have found birds with leg bands or color markers and reported them to the Bird Banding Laboratory through their "Report a bird with a federal band or color marker" website. Certificates are automatically generated when you report a bird and can be downloaded immediately after your report is...
A Black-capped Chickadee with a severely deformed beak where the upper beak is elongated and curved down while the lower beak is
Since the late 1990s, Alaskans have reported large numbers of beak deformities in Black-capped Chickadees and other species of resident birds. This disease, called avian keratin disorder (AKD), is characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth and other abnormalities of keratinized tissues. Affected birds have difficulty feeding and preening, and...