Canadian Atlas of Bird Banding

Introduction

This publication is part of an atlas series that presents, for the first time, a comprehensive overview of bird-banding results involving birds banded, recaptured or recovered in Canada for all species of birds except waterfowl. Volume 1 covers most land birds (passerines and near passerines). Volume 2 covers seabirds (albatrosses, petrels, gannets, cormorants, pelicans, jaegers, gulls, terns, and auks). Volume 3 covers raptors (hawks and owls), vultures, and a variety of waterbirds (loons, grebes, cranes, herons, and rails). Volume 4 covers shorebirds (plovers and sandpipers).

Bird banding involves placing a metal band with a unique serial number on a bird's leg, so that the bird can be individually identified when it is found again. An "encounter" is any subsequent observation of the banded bird, dead or alive. (The term "recovery," sometimes used as synonymous with encounter, refers only to encounters of dead birds.)

Bird banding in Canada was begun by private individuals in the early years of the twentieth century. Following the 1916–1917 implementation of the Migratory Birds Convention between Great Britain (for Canada) and the United States, the public sector organized the administration of bird banding. The Canadian Bird Banding Office, established in 1923, was originally part of the Dominion government's Parks Branch but is now administered in Ottawa by the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment Canada. The Office works closely with the Bird Banding Laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Resources Division, which was established in 1920. These two agencies jointly administer the North American Bird Banding Program for migratory birds. Mexico joined the North American Bird Banding Program in 2006 and is developing a banding system in that country.

In Canada, as in most countries with vigorous banding programs, bird banding has included a great deal of volunteer activity. While many professional biologists use banding in their research and government biologists have done much of North America's banding of game birds, interest in the spectacular migrations of birds has led scores of unpaid enthusiasts to spend much of their spare time banding birds. Most published analyses of band encounters have involved species with numerous records, particularly species of economic importance. For other species, there is an enormous body of encounter data that has never been compiled, covering many decades of effort. This atlas series is intended to fill that gap.

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