Bird Banding

Photo of ellow Warbler
Photo: © Lesley Howes, 2015
Yellow Warbler

Bird banding is one of the most common and important research tools 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. In addition to federal bands, birds may carry other marker types such as flags, neck collars, wing tags, coloured leg bands, radio frequency identification tags (RFID), dataloggers such as geolocators, and radio or satellite transmitters. If you see a marked bird you may contribute to the program by reporting marked birds online at or call toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263).

Migratory birds are protected in Canada by the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations. Anyone wishing to mark birds must apply for a bird banding permit. Permits are issued to qualified individuals who carry out the marking and research or monitoring. Banding data are submitted to the Banding Office and archived in a central database. Banding and encounter data are available to the public upon request. Environment and Climate Change Canada's Bird Banding Office (BBO) and the United States Geological Survey's Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) jointly administer the North American Bird Banding Program.

Interactive training modules are available through the Piranga website, where banders and others can improve their skills in accurately identifying, aging and sexing birds.

Contact Us

Bird Banding Office
National Wildlife Research Centre
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Rd)
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

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