Reporting Banded Birds

Man holding a banded bird
© Photo: G. Chapdelaine (CWS)

The North American Bird Banding program relies on the public to report found bird bands to our office. In Canada only about 10 percent of bands applied to game birds and less than 1 percent of bands applied to song birds are recovered.

If you do find a banded bird or a bird band it is important to note as much information as you can about the bird. This will help scientists and researchers continue to learn about, monitor and conserve our bird populations.

If the bird is found alive do not try to remove the band. This could result in an injury to the leg.

Please note the following:

  1. numbers, in sequence, appearing on the band or bands
  2. colours and materials of any bands or markers in addition to a metal band
  3. date on which the bird or band was found or observed
  4. exact location the bird or band was found or observed
  5. species, sex and age of the bird (if known)
  6. whether the bird was alive, dead, injured, free, or trapped
  7. how the bird died (if known)

Sometimes band numbers are difficult to read because of wear. Bird bands may be flattened and taped securely to a piece of paper and sent with the above information to our office. You can also try etching the band by flattening it, cover it with a piece of paper and using pencil, rub the lead over the band. This will often reveal even hard to read numbers.

Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number so that we may send you a certificate of appreciation. The certificate 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.

Send the information to the Bird Banding Office!

Report encounters and recoveries on line at

Report your observations by calling the Bird Banding Office toll-free 1-800-327-2263 (1-800-327-BAND), by sending an e-mail message or by writing a letter to:

Bird Banding Office
National Wildlife Research Centre
Environment Canada
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H3


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