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Ornithology Exchange

Canadian Bird Banding Office

Chris Merkord

The Canadian Bird Banding Office administers the Canadian Bird Banding Program. Bird banding is an important tool used 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 life time. In addition to federal bands, birds may carry other marker types such as flags, neck collars, wing tags, coloured leg bands, geolocators, radio or satellite transmitters. This makes possible studies that help to monitor bird populations, set waterfowl hunting regulations, protect endangered species, and assess the effects of environmental contaminants.


Migratory birds are protected in Canada and so those 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 is submitted to the Banding Office and archived in a central database. Banding and encounter data are available to the public upon request.


Environment Canada and the United States Geological Survey's Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) jointly administer the North American Bird Banding Program. Much of today's banding contributes to North America-wide monitoring, research, and conservation programs as well as improving our understanding of bird movement world wide.

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