Report a Banded Bird

Researchers and scientists have been banding birds for years in order to learn more about specific species, such as where do they go and how long they live.  If you see a bird with any type of band or flag, please try to capture photos of the bird and the band(s).  Then report the bird using this USGS link:

You will be asked to report the location, date and time, and provide pictures if you have them.  Even if you can not clearly read the tag ID, it is possible the photos will be helpful. After you report a banded bird to the USGS, you will receive a certificate of appreciation, similar to the one below sent to the Murphy’s after they reported this Wood Stork.

If you find a banded dead bird, the article below explains more about finding birds with leg bands:

When a dead, wild bird is found that has a leg ring attached, it’s crucial for the individual who found the bird to go about the correct steps in getting the information to the right people. Participating in this process is a way to continue the help given to these migratory birds as well as continue with the efforts by those involved for researching and developing strategies to help these North American migratory birds to thrive.

The first step in this process is to determine the type of bird and leg ring that you have come upon in order to follow the appropriate steps. Metal bands are used for terrestrial birds, which are birds that inhabit land rather than air or water. These metal bands should be reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory by simply going on to their website and clicking on the “Report a Bird Band or a Marked Bird” link. The link will allow you to follow a few simple questions in reporting the band. There should be a phone number on the band to bypass the website but many people use the website to obtain a Certificate of Appreciation to acknowledge their participation in helping with the services provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Plastic leg rings and collars are found on water birds and shorebirds. Although there is a color-coded system for plastic bands from researchers in Central and South America, the international banding program can still be implemented for those finding these types of dead, wild birds through the website for the Bird Banding Laboratory. The process is the same in reporting the bird and the finder will receive information on where the bird was originally tagged along with the date and species of the bird.

However, for bands with the letters AU, IF, CU, NPA, or IPB; there is a separate agency that handles the bands. The database for these birds strictly belong within the research related to pigeons and the American Racing Pigeon Union website will redirect people where there are individual links to report these dead, wild birds. The first two series on the band will dictate the individual database, the second series is the year the bird was tagged, the third in the series is the club code and the last set is the actual serial number given to the individual bird. Reading the band correctly is crucial in contacting the correct organization to report the dead, wild bird.

When finding a dead, wild bird with a band, collar or leg ring; it’s important to follow the correct steps in helping to report the incident. The banding of these migratory birds is important to helping not only their longevity but also learning more about habits that can affect everything from environmental contaminants to hazards around airports and airplanes. It’s important to do your part in terms of nature conservation and research to create a better and safer environment for yourself and future generations.


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