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What should you do if you see a banded bird? Provided by Florida Audubon

Most avid birders come across a banded bird sooner or later but might not know how important it is to report what they see. Banded bird sighting reports are vitally important to the conservation and long-term survival of many of our most imperiled bird species, and amateur bird watchers play a critical role!

• Reporting banded birds helps biologists to understand migratory patterns, territory size, range, habitat use, mortality, longevity, and a number of other factors critical to a specie’s survival.
• Reporting banded chicks, adults, and migratory shorebirds helps pinpoint beaches, causeways, and islands that are important feeding and resting areas for birds prior to or during migration so that we can ensure those special places are protected from disturbance.
• Reporting banded chicks and adults at beach-nesting and gravel rooftop-nesting sites helps assess “nest site fidelity” -the innate habit of returning to the same location year after year to nest. Site fidelity differs among shorebird and seabird species. For some species, a catastrophic disturbance one year can cause the birds to search for a new nesting location that may be safer than the previous site
• The period between hatching and a chick’s first flight, when they can fly to avoid danger, is critical to their survival. Observing banded chicks may help to pinpoint factors in preventing them from reaching this critical stage.

Snowy Plover Left: Yellow, Blue, Black; Right: Green


If you see a banded bird:
1. Note the date, time, and location (with GPS if possible)
2. Note the species
3. Note which legs or legs have bands
4. Note the color and order of bands –upper or lower and left or right leg. If the band or flag has an alphanumeric code, try to note the code
5. Take a picture! Digital cameras work great through scopes and sometimes even binoculars.


Black Skimmer Right: G 4A


How to report a banded Black Skimmer:
Band Color       State       How to Report      
Orange               MA         Email: Carolyn Mostello

Yellow                NY          Email: R Longiaru, K Parkins

Blue                    NJ


White                 VA          Email: VTplover,

Black                 NC or email: Lindsay Addison

Green                 FL          Email: Beth Forys

Red                    TX and others

*Table compiled by Elizabeth Forys, Ph.D.

Red Knot Right: G PHL


How to report a banded bird other than Black Skimmer:
• To report banded sandpipers such as Red Knots, Sanderling, and Semipalmated Sandpipers, please click here. (

• To report banded Piping Plovers, please email

• To report banded American Oystercatchers, (


• To report banded Least Terns, please email Beth Forys. (

• To report banded Roseate Spoonbills, please click here. (

To report banded Snowy Plovers and Wilson’s Plovers, or for information on reporting a variety of other birds, please click here. (


Special thank you to Kathy Doddridge for supplying us with this blog.

Manatee County Audubon Society

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