Discovering Knowledge in A Century’s Value of Chicken Banding Data


Way back there have been some very artistic concepts about the place birds disappeared to throughout the winter months. Did birds migrate to the moon? Morph into different species? Hibernate underwater? To reply these questions, folks started marking birds to see if a person specimen returned the following yr. This system ultimately led to a extremely efficient analog expertise referred to as banding, or ringing, that’s extensively used at the moment.


Developed on the flip of the twentieth century, hen banding makes use of metallic or coloured leg bands or coloured wing tags marked with a singular quantity or alpha-code as a technique for documenting re-encounters of particular person birds. Bands are reasonably priced, reliable and very light-weight—the smallest weigh solely 0.001 gram—and can be utilized on all sizes and species of birds, from hummingbirds to eagles. In North America, the US Geological Survey’s Chicken Banding Lab, established in 1920 by visionary scientists, is a cornerstone for avian conservation and analysis. Within the final 100 years, roughly 77 million bands have been deployed with over 5 million re-encounters reported. This analysis has led to some wonderful insights about birds and their lives. For instance, it tells us that the oldest-known dwelling banded hen is a 70-year-old Laysan Albatross named Knowledge who hatched her thirty ninth chick final yr. With spectacular data like these, there’s certainly numerous knowledge captured on this intensive dataset.


Dr. Antonio Celis-Murillo is the Chief of the Chicken Banding Lab, situated on the USGS Japanese Ecological Science Heart in Maryland. All through his profession he has studied avian ecology and conduct with the overarching objective of enhancing conservation efforts. “Birds are good indicators of environmental well being as a result of they’re delicate to habitat change. Adjustments in hen populations can sign environmental points, equivalent to impacts from excessive climate or human growth, which may have an effect on different elements of the ecosystem,” he says.


Celis-Murillo shouldn’t be alone in his ardour for hen banding analysis. 1000’s of skilled banders spend time every spring and fall banding and recovering birds. Every year 1.2 million new band data are submitted from banding stations throughout the US and Canada leading to about 100,000 stories of encountered birds. Dr. Nat Seavy, Audubon’s director of migration science, defined, “My yard birds are worldwide vacationers, however they’re additionally yard birds for a lot of different folks alongside the best way. Including millions of banding data to the Chicken Migration Explorer permits us to visualise these knowledge, recognize the marvel of hen migration and discover our connection to faraway locations and cultures throughout the hemisphere.”


This wealthy dataset permits scientists to know migration patterns, inhabitants connectivity, web site constancy, life span, wildlife illnesses and environmental contaminants. Banding knowledge have knowledgeable land conservation and species restoration targets and helped set searching laws. Mapping the info exhibits us how landscapes are related by birds and may also help establish downside areas for declining populations. When requested in regards to the significance of the Lab, Celis-Murillo relayed his historic perspective that “regardless of many obstacles equivalent to World Wars I and II, the Nice Despair, and modifications in administrations and federal reorganizations, amongst many different essential occasions in historical past, the mission of the Chicken Banding Laboratory stays fixed to assist avian conservation analysis in the US and Canada.”


There isn’t any query that birds deliver pleasure, and that they’re key to participating folks and society in appreciating the fantastic thing about nature and conservation,” Celis-Murillo says. That’s why the Chicken Banding Lab is a significant knowledge supplier to Audubon’s Migratory Chicken Initiative, serving to us obtain our objective of participating folks within the pleasure of migration and defending locations birds want most all through their vary.


You may assist with the Migratory Chicken Initiative and broader hen analysis by reporting any banded birds you encounter at and by taking actions that defend birds. Study extra at


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