I harvested a duck with a band on its leg. What should I do?

The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory currently administers bird banding permits, supplies and data for the North American Bird Banding Program. For more information, please visit http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/.

Bird bands placed specifically by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are generally older bands and will usually include the notation “Avise USFWS” or “Avise FWS."

You may report any federal bird band, whether placed by FWS or another federal agency, on the Bird Banding Laboratory’s website or by calling the toll-free Bird Banding hotline at 1-800-327-BAND (1-800-327-2263). The hotline operator will need to know the band number, and how, when and where the bird or band was found. The hotline number works from anywhere in Canada, the United States and most parts of the Caribbean.

Birds may also be banded by individuals and organizations other than the FWS or the Bird Banding Laboratory. In such cases, the band should provide the appropriate contact information. Homing pigeons are one prominent example and American Racing Pigeon Union registered bands have a specific format. To report homing pigeon bands, whether on a dead or live bird, please visit http://www.pigeon.org/lostbirdinfo.htm.

To learn more about other types of bands, including where they can be reported, please visit the Bird Banding Laboratory’s Identifying Unusual Bands web page.

Finally, color bands are used to identify individual birds visually and are types of auxiliary markers. To learn more about color bands and other auxiliary markers, please visit the All About Auxiliary Markers web page.

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