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Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts on BBL operations

April 22, 2020

Learn how BBL operations are proceeding while maintaining social distance required by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Our priority at the Bird Band Laboratory is to continue the important work of the Department of the Interior and the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and community. Based on guidance from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we have shifted our operations to a virtual mode and have minimal staffing within our offices.

In order to maintain support for the banding community, we have prepared the following operation guidelines.

 Communication with the BBL


We continue to process new permit applications and requests for modifications to existing permits, but we expect slower turnaround times than are estimated on our website. Please be sure to follow instructions on the BBL website regarding how to prepare permit requests, including sending all communications via In addition, please note:

  • Modification of existing permits will proceed as we are able, in the order that requests are received.
  • Review of new permit applications and reactivation requests are a lower priority for staff than maintaining existing permits. 
  • Renewal requests for permits with delinquent data will not be processed until all data are submitted (Note this is standard BBL policy). 

Band orders

We will continue to mail band orders as we are able.

  • All band orders must be placed using the Bander Portal (Note this is standard BBL policy).
  • Please do not place orders for more bands than you need.
  • Please do not return old inscription bands to us until further notice, so we can focus our time on distributing bands.

Other considerations for banders

Please consider if your banding activities this year can be carried out while following guidelines from local governments for restricting travel, keeping safe distance from other persons and practicing good hygiene, all to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.  If not, we recommend you not proceed with banding until conditions change.

If you can continue banding safely, please note that access to some federal, state or other municipal lands may have been restricted.  As always, please be sure to verify that you have current agreement to access your banding locations this year, including private lands.  

Furthermore, before proceeding please consider whether you are still able to ensure a high level of bird safety and data quality while reducing the risk of Covid-19 spread.  It is not currently known whether the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes the disease COVID-19 and is spreading through the human population, has the potential to infect wild birds in North American. When handling birds and other wildlife, implement safety and hygiene measures including frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and disinfection of your equipment.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. Stay healthy! 

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