Bird Banding Permits
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Federal permits are needed to place any kind of marker on birds
protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Despite the name, this
law protects virtually all species native to United States, and not
just migratory species. Do not assume that a species is not protected
because it is not migratory. Always check this official list:
Federal permits are also needed to place any kind of marker on birds protected under the Endangered Species Act: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/permits/index.html.
If you plan to band species protected under the Endangered Species Act, obtain your Endangered Species Act permit first and then apply for the banding permit.
NOTE: most states also require permits for banding, though they
typically call these permits scientific collecting permits.
State Permits page at http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/permit/stateindex.html.
and feathers can be collecting under a bird banding permit if the
samples are to be taken in conjunction with banding. Specify, when
applying for the banding permit, that you would also like to take blood
and/or feather samples. If you are not planning to mark the bird, you
must obtain a scientific collecting permit.
How to apply
Application forms can be found here: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/resources/forms/permitinfo.cfm
They must be printed and mailed or faxed to the U.S. Bird Banding Lab.
NOTE: The U.S. Bird Banding Lab is in the process of revising this
regulation. The proposed regulation will probably be published for
public comment in 2010.
The Bird Banding Lab supplements this regulation with unofficial
policies and practices. Some of those practices can be found in the North American Banding Manual.
The practice of issuing master banding permits and subpermits and the
specific requirements (including the submission of three
recommendations) is not a regulatory requirement; it is a practice of
the BBL that appears only in the Manual.
Other practices are unwritten and often unknown to the banding and
research communities until offered by the Banding Lab as an explanation
for its decisions on permits or band issuance. For instance, authority
for auxiliary markers includes radio and satellite transmitters, unless
the method of attachment involves implantation of the device or the
antenna. In that case, a scientific collecting permit must be obtained
from the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management. This requirement
is not found in the regulations, the Manual, or elsewhere.
The Ornithological Council suggests that permit applicants notify the
Ornithological Council should questions arise about decisions by the
BBL said to be based on BBL practice or internal policy.
Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 21—MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS
Subpart C—Specific Permit Provisions
§ 21.22 Banding or marking permits.
(a) Permit requirement. A banding or marking permit is required before
any person may capture migratory birds for banding or marking purposes
or use official bands issued by the Service for banding or marking any
(b) Application procedures. Applications for banding or marking permits
shall be submitted by letter of application addressed to the Bird
Banding Laboratory, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Laurel, Maryland 20708. Each such application shall
contain the general information and certification set forth by
§13.12(a) of this subchapter plus the following additional information:
(1) Species and numbers proposed to be banded or marked;
(2) Purpose of banding or marking;
(3) State or States in which authorization is requested; and
(4) Name and address of the public, scientific, or educational
institution to which any specimens will be donated that are salvaged
pursuant to paragraphs (c) (3) and (4) of this section.
(c) Additional permit conditions. In addition to the general conditions
set forth in part 13 of this subchapter B, banding or marking permits
shall be subject to the following conditions:
(1) The banding of migratory
birds shall only be by official numbered leg bands issued by the
Service. The use of any other band, clip, dye, or other method of
marking is prohibited unless specifically authorized in the permit.
(2) All traps or nets used to capture migratory birds for banding or
marking purposes shall have attached thereto a tag or label clearly
showing the name and address of the permittee and his permit number, or
the area in which such traps or nets are located must be posted with
notice of banding operations posters (Form 3–1155, available upon
request from the Bird Banding Laboratory, Office of Migratory Bird
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Laurel, Md. 20708) which
shall bear the name and address of the permittee and the number of his
(3) The holder of a banding or marking permit may salvage, for the
purpose of donating to a public scientific or educational institution,
birds killed or found dead as a result of the permittee's normal
banding operations, and casualties from other causes. All dead birds
salvaged under authority of a migratory bird banding or marking permit
must be donated and transferred to a public scientific or educational
institution at least every 6 months or within 60 days of the time such
permit expires or is revoked, unless the permittee has been issued a
special permit authorizing possession for a longer period of time.
(4) Permittees must keep accurate records of their operations and file
reports as set forth in the North American Bird Banding Manual, or
supplements thereto, in accordance with instructions contained therein.
(d) Term of permit. A banding or marking permit issued or renewed under
this part expires on the date designated on the face of the permit
unless amended or revoked, but the term of the permit shall not exceed
three (3) years from the date of issuance or renewal.