Leg banding is an important method used in avian research to track the movement and survival of individual birds.
Each resight (i.e. observation of a banded bird) is extremely important since it provides researchers with a time and location for that specific bird. These sightings allow scientists to better understand movement patterns related to migration, nesting, wintering, foraging, etc. and is a driver for conservation for imperiled species.
For additional information on resighting banded birds in Florida, please read the Florida Resighting Guidance for Banded Birds document.
Resighting Banded Birds
- Carefully note the color and position of each band. Bands can be located on any of four locations on the legs: upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right. Remember, the left leg is defined as the bird’s left leg.
- Most birds should have one metal band.
- Many projects use combinations of color bands, flags, and/or bands with alpha-numeric codes to allow individuals to be distinguished from a distance with spotting scopes, binoculars or cameras.
- Record alpha-numeric or character codes if present on colored bands or flags and the color of the band or flag with the code.
- Record the GPS location or take detailed notes of where you saw the banded individual
- Try not to disturb banded birds by causing them to flush
- Take a photo if possible. Photos are the best form of band documentation.
- Report your observations to band research projects, learn how below.
Left: Upper leg– Metal
Lower leg– Yellow over Yellow
Right: Upper leg– None
Lower leg– Blue over Red
How and where to report a banded birds
If you are unsure where to report a banded bird, email Shorebird@MyFWC.com for more information.
Consider joining the Florida Banded Bird Resightings Facebook Group to connect with banders and others resighting banded birds.
Note: The Facebook Group is a helpful resource but is not a substitute for reporting banded birds to the original bander or the National Bird Banding Lab.
Photo Credits: Chris Burney, Jack Rogers, Kevin Christman, Mia McPherson