North American coordinated approach for bird banding: letter of intent

Official title: Letter of Intent to Promote Development of a Coordinated Approach for Bird Banding in the United Mexican States, the United States of America, and Canada

Subject category:
Biodiversity / Ecosystems 
Type of agreement / instrument:
Canada – United States- Mexico
Form:
Letter of Intent
Status:
  • A Letter of Intent with Mexico was signed April 2015.
  • Ongoing: The USA and Canada have had a shared agreement on bird banding since 1923.
Lead & partner departments:
Lead:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Partners:
U.S. Geological Survey; Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad, Mexico
For further information:
Web links:
Contacts:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
October 2018
Reference #:
A77/EN

Plain language summary

Bird banding is an important research tool used by ornithologists in the scientific study and monitoring of wild birds. Uniquely numbered metal bands placed on the leg of the bird allow tracking of individual birds throughout their lifetime as well as tracking of bird movements globally. Bird banding provides data vital for ornithological research, monitoring and conservation by contributing to basic scientific knowledge about birds and the environments in which they live. Bird banding studies help to monitor bird populations and ecosystem health, set waterfowl hunting regulations and protect endangered species.

Mexico, the United States and Canada share a large number of migratory species of birds that require cooperation to ensure appropriate management for their long-term protection and conservation. Effective, well-coordinated bird banding programs are necessary to generate reliable information for the design, implementation and evaluation of management and conservation actions to protect migratory bird populations.

Objective

Provide a specific framework to cooperate on the development of the Mexican Bird Banding Program and to ensure compatibility among the Mexican, USA, and Canadian banding programs so that bird banding, marking, and encounter data can be readily used for the conservation and management of bird populations in each country.

Key elements

Information, technical guidance and assistance will be provided in all aspects of establishing and running a bird banding program including the development of a data management system, information related to the purchasing of bird bands, copies of documents, operational procedures and materials and other available information useful for establishing an operational bird banding program. Shared standards for bird capture and marking; coordinated reporting and outreach; enhanced analysis and use of data will benefit all programs. 

Expected results

The Agencies intend to engage in cooperative activities to promote and expand dialogue, exchange experiences and information, and provide technical assistance to develop platforms, databases and websites to ensure that the Mexican bird banding program will be comparable and compatible with existing programs in the USA and Canada.  

Canada’s involvement

This agreement is important to Canada because it supports ornithological research, conservation and management within Canada and internationally.

The Canadian Bird Banding Office will advise the Mexican partner on a variety of technical issues associated with the implementation and operation of a national bird banding office and can expedite the establishment of the Mexican Bird Banding Program. These cooperative efforts will also facilitate development of compatible data management processes that will allow for transferring banding data and other information among the banding offices

Results / progress

Cooperative efforts will facilitate development of compatible data management processes that will allow for transferring banding data and other information among the banding offices.

With guidance and assistance from the USGS and ECCC, the intent is to ensure compatibility among the Mexican, USA, and Canadian banding programs so that bird banding, marking, and encounter data can be readily used for the conservation and management of bird populations in each country.

Building long-term partnerships will promote and enhance the development of coordinated bird banding and marking activities and promote the conservation and management of North American bird communities.

Reports

Banding data are incorporated into many different reports by ECCC, scientific researchers and other partners.

Results

In Canada, about 1000 banding permits are managed each year, with over 300,000 birds banded and 30,000 encounters of banded birds reported each year by banders and the general public.

The shared database has over 70 million records of birds banded in North America and beyond.

Banding office data are widely distributed to researchers throughout North America, and have been used in thousands of scientific publications, as well as contributing to conservation and management of migratory birds.

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