Permit Application Instructions

Science Center Objects

Instructions in how to fill out the master banding permit

To apply for a master banding permit, please complete the online permit application form. Please allow 4-6 month for processing.

Personal Contact Information (Boxes 1-5)

This information is self-explanatory. Because of age requirements for BBL banding permits, birthdates must be provided on the form. The application will not be processed if a birthdate is missing. Because BBL communications with banders are now entirely electronic, the applicant must have a current email address to be considered for a master banding permit.


Type of Permit (Boxes 6, 6A)

Information for Box 6A is required only for applications for master station banding permits.


Other Migratory Bird Permits (Box 7)

List any other Federal Migratory Bird Permit that the applicant has ever possessed. Include any active or inactive BBL sub-permits in this box. If the applicant does not recall the permit number of other information for previous BBL sub-permits, provide the name of the master bander who supervised their banding activities.


Blood Sampling (Box 8)

See the Blood Sampling Authorization page for more information. The BBL suggests providing an attached written narrative describing the requested blood sampling authorizations, the species to be sampled, protocols that will be followed, and the justification for the request.


Feather Sampling (Box 9)

See the Feather Sampling Authorization page for more information.


Species Authorization (Box 10)

The list of species groups is not complete. The authorizations that are approved for a master banding permit will reflect the species/species groups that are the focus of the scientific projects justifying the banding permit. If you plan to band any Federally-listed Endangered or Threatened species, a US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Recovery Permit must be obtained before the BBL can approve the authorization for those activities on a banding permit. See the Federal Endangered or Threatened Species page for more information.


State/County Authorizations (Box 11)

See the States and Territories Authorization page for more information. If you plan to band outside of the USA, see the Foreign Countries page for more information. The BBL will not approve authorizations to band outside of the USA until after the bander has obtained the required permit(s) to capture and band birds in the other countries.


Capture Techniques (Box 12)

The BBL now specifies all approved capture techniques on master banding permit. The list in box 12 is not complete. The bander should attach a short narrative indicating all of the capture techniques that they intend to use for their banding activities.


Auxiliary Marking Authorizations (Box 13)

See the Auxiliary Marking Authorization page for more information. The BBL suggests providing an attached written narrative describing the auxiliary marker(s) that will be used, the specific attachment methods (when appropriate), the species that will be marked, and the state(s) and county(ies) where the birds will be marked.


Project Justification (Box 14)

A description of the proposed banding and/or marking activities must be provided for the application to be considered by the BBL. See the General Permit Information page for more information about other types of authorizations the can be requested on master permit applications.


References (Box 15)

When selecting references, be sure to include the names of people who will respond promptly to requests from the BBL. The biggest delay in the processing of permit applications is a result of references who fail to respond to the BBL. The application will not be reviewed until all three references have responded.

Please sign and date the application on page 4 of the form. The application will not be processed without a signature.


Resume of Banding

Experience In addition to the application form, the applicant must provide a complete resume of their previous bird banding and marking experiences. The following information should be provided for each banding project on their resume:

  • Dates project was conducted
  • Location
  • Capture techniques that were used and the species/species groups and approximate number of birds captured with each technique
  • The species/species groups and approximate number of birds that were handled and banded
  • If auxiliary markers were used in the project, the type of marker(s), the attachment method(s), species, and number of individual birds that were marked.
  • Any other banding-related activities such as blood sampling and feather sampling.
  • The name of the master bander who was responsible for the project.


If any formal training courses have been taken, please list the course title, dates, location, instructor, and a short summary of the course content. Additionally, include the species and approximate number of birds that were handled during the course, capture techniques used, and any other relevant information.


After completing the permit application form and resume of experience, please save and attach to an email to, or print out, and mail to:

     U.S.Geological Survey

     EESC – Bird Banding Laboratory

     12100 Beech Forest Road, STE-4037

     Laurel, MD 20708-4037

     Fax: 301-497-5505

If you have any questions about the master permit application process, please contact Rose DeComo in the BBL permits office at 301-497-5944 or



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