Banding and Encounter Data Requests

Science Center Objects

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.

A request for bird banding and encounter data should include:

  • Your contact information (a valid email address and daytime phone number)
  • Justification for requesting data
  • Description of the data needed (e.g. species, group of species, locations, dates, etc.)
  • (if you are a bander) permit name and permit number


In the U.S., send your request to:

    Danny Bystrak at


In Canada, please visit BBO website 


Once the request is received at the BBL, allow 3 - 6 weeks to receive the data (it usually takes less time). We will include our Policy for Release and Use of Banding and Encounter Data.

Please consult the Banding data codes and Encounter data codes pages for descriptions of coded fields in the data. Data files may contain codes that are now considered obsolete, however, description of these codes are also included on the aforementioned pages.


Data retrieved directly from the BBL database should be cited as follows:

USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. <year>. North American bird banding and band encounter data set. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. <date data file was created>. (The create date of the file is typically embedded in the file name.)

Because the BBL database is being constantly updated, the date each request was created is important and should be provided to the recipient and included in the citation.


Report a problem or mistake on this page


Return to BBL Homepage