Report a Banded Bird

There are a variety of methods used to mark birds in North America – leg bands, neck collars, wing tags, etc.    Recaptures and re-sightings of marked birds are one piece of data that scientists use to gain a fuller picture of the life history and ecology of our avian friends.  If you sight a marked bird, please report it to the proper authority.

Federal Reporting:  All markers should be reported to the federal government website.


Aluminum Leg Bands:  The governments of the US and Canada issue aluminum leg bands, and they are placed on most bird groups including passerines, owls, raptors, and waterfowl.  Each band has a unique 9-digit number.  Occasionally these bands can be read while still on a living bird (especially with the help of good photos!), but more often these bands are recovered on deceased birds.  If you find a dead bird with a band, please report it here:  www.reportband.gov.  You will want to provide as much information as you can about the location of the sighting or recovery.

Color Markers:  Color markers are used to identify individual birds at a distance, and are typically used in species-specific studies.  They include colored leg bands (sometimes with numbers, sometimes plain), neck colors, and wing tags.  Record the number (if visible) and color of the marker, and report it to www.reportband.gov.

Local Reporting:  In addition to federal reporting, consider reporting color markers directly to the scientists conducting the research.  Following are some links to sites for reporting markers on certain species (sometimes in specific locations).

American Oystercatcher
American White Pelicans
Brown Pelicans
Common Merganser
Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Glossy Ibis
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Egret and Snowy Egret
House Finch
Hudsonian Godwit
Least Tern
Loggerhead Shrike
Long-billed Curlew
Mute Swan
Northern Harrier
Piping Plover
Red Knot
Red-tailed Hawk
Reddish Egret
Snow Goose
Trumpeter Swam (New York) and Trumpeter Swan (National)
Tundra Swan
Western Sandpiper
Whooping Crane

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