How to report a banded bird

The North American Bird Banding Program relies on the public to report their observations or recoveries of bird bands and other bird markers to the Bird Banding Office. These data help scientists and wildlife managers better understand, monitor and conserve migratory bird populations by providing information on the distribution and movement of species. Although over 1.2 million birds are banded in the US and Canada each year, only about 10 percent of game bird bands (and less than 1 percent of songbird bands) are recovered. Your contribution is important!

If you see a marked bird you may contribute to the program by reporting birds online at or call toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263) to leave a message.

Information to include when reporting a bird band

The more information you can provide when recording information from a banded bird, the more likely the individual bird can be identified or marking project determined. Taking a photograph of the bird or bird band can improve accuracy of reporting. Do not try to capture birds or remove bands and markers from live birds.

Information to include:

Sometimes band numbers are difficult to read because of wear. You can try etching the band by flattening it, covering it with a piece of paper and using a pencil to rub the lead over the band. This will often reveal even hard to read numbers. Otherwise, please send the bird band to our office for further analysis.

Certificate of appreciation

After your information has been submitted, you will receive a certificate of appreciation by email which will tell you the species of bird, where and when it was banded, its age, whether it was male or female, and who banded it. We will tell the bander where and when the bird or band was found and its condition.

Reporting banded pigeons

Pigeons are not banded as part of the North American Bird Banding Program. Racing pigeons are banded and raced in clubs throughout Canada and the world for sport. If you find a banded pigeon, it is likely a racing pigeon that has become lost or tired.

Generally, pigeon bands have letters representing their racing association:

Please contact the appropriate pigeon association and they can put you in touch with the owner

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