How do I submit bird banding and/or bird recapture data?

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.

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How can I get bird banding and encounter data from the Bird Banding Laboratory?

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

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What functions are available in the Bander Portal for bird 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
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I have a federal permit to band birds. How do I order bands?

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.

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How do I renew or modify my existing federal bird banding permit?

To renew or make changes to existing bird banding permits, use the links below:

●      Request a sub-permit

●      Change in the

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How do I obtain a federal bird banding 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

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What are the ethics and responsibilities of Bird Banders?

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

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Does banding hurt birds?

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

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How do I get a certificate of appreciation after reporting a banded bird?

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 Certificates are automatically generated when you report a bird and can be downloaded immediately after

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Who can band birds?

Because banding birds requires capturing the birds and handling them before the banding takes place, the banding of birds in the United States is controlled under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and requires a federal banding permit. Some states require a state

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I found (or killed) a bird with a band or color marker around its leg. What do I do?

Bird band information is an important tool that is used to monitor populations, set hunting regulations, restore endangered species, study effects of environmental contaminants, and address such issues as Avian Influenza, bird hazards at airports, and crop depredations.

The North American Bird Banding Program is

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Canada Goose with Leg Band and Neck Collar
May 20, 2017

Canada Goose with Leg Band and Neck Collar

Whooping crane , copyright Ted Thousand
August 8, 2016

The image was taken August 11, 2012 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. The bird is 26-09 (female) making her 3 years old when the image was taken. She is an Operation Migration bird raised at Patuxent from an International Crane Foundtion egg. Her mate 27-06 is a Direct Autumn Release bird. 

The bird is foraging in a flowage (Rynearson Flowage) that’s water levels are managed for waterfowl production. This image was taken during a drawdown which exposes the mussels. The fresh water mussel is probably a Pyganodon grandis (giant floater).  Photo by Ted Thousand

October 27, 2011

by Susan Haig, Wildlife Ecologist


  • Scientists are studying global migratory animal movements throughout their annual cycles to improve conservation efforts
  • Changing climate conditions have accentuated this need, as species movements and their ranges are fluctuating every year
  • Technology being used to study the migratory patterns ranges from leg bands to satellite telemetry and isotopic markers
  • The USGS and the Smithsonian Institution have partnered to form the Migratory Connectivity Project to address this issue
Osprey with bird bands in nest
January 1, 0000

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, with bird bands in nest with mate

Aluminum band and one plastic colored leg bands in a Brown Pelican 

Aluminum band and one plastic colored leg bands in a Brown Pelican 


Bandit is the latest in a series of programs aimed at helping bird banders manage and submit their data for
banded birds. We have tried to make the process of maintaining banding records as simple as possible.
Bandit was created by the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) at the U. S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife
Research Center, Laurel, Maryland.

Banded Bicknell's Thrush with color leg bands on Stratton Mountain, Vermont.

Banded Bicknell's Thrush with color leg bands on Stratton Mountain, Vermont.