If you have found a sick or injured bird or bat the first consideration should be the animal’s wellbeing. If it is safe to do so, please take the animal to a local vet for appropriate treatment. Your health and safety is important when making decisions to handle wildlife. Take care when handling injured animals. Bats should not be handled by members of the public and should be referred to your local wildlife rescue organisation.
- ABBBS bands and colour markings
- How to report a bird or bat band to the ABBBS
- Foreign banding scheme bands
- Domestic and pigeon bands
ABBBS bands and colour markings
If you think you have found an ABBBS band, or you have sighted a banded bird or bat the ABBBS would like to hear from you. The ABBBS maintains banding records for wild birds and bats that are being studied by researchers. ABBBS bands are metal and are usually stamped with an 8-digit number in the format XXX-XXXXX. Most bands are stamped with a return address to identify them as an ABBBS band.
Examples of bird and bat bands issued by the ABBBS
Older bands stamped with a CSIRO address should also be reported to the ABBBS.
Examples of bird bands with a CSIRO return address
In addition to metal leg bands, birds may also carry a combination of:
- colour bands
- engraved or plain leg flags
- readable bands
- wing tags, or
- neck collars.
Bats may carry colour bands in addition to the metal ABBBS band.
Examples of colour markings used on birds
How to report a bird or bat band to the ABBBS
The preferred method for reporting your find or sighting is to use the On-line reporting form. Alternatively, you can report your sighting to the ABBBS via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 02 6272 4263. We require the following information when you make your report:
- The ABBBS band number and/or colour markings
- Location of the animal or band (GPS coordinates or street address preferred)
- Date when you found the band or sighted the animal
- What happened to the animal
- Where the animal is now
- Where the band is now, and
- Any other information about the animal, including photos where available.
If the animal is dead, if possible, please:
- Remove the band
- Gently flatten the band and stick it to a piece of cardboard or paper, or place in a transparent resealable bag
- Include the following information on a piece of paper:
- band recovery details including date and location
- your name and contact details (so we can mail or email a recovery report to you)
- whether you have previously reported the animal to the ABBBS.
- Place the band and recovery information in an envelope and mail to our office.
Our mailing address is:
The Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS)
GPO Box 8
Canberra ACT 2601
Once the ABBBS has received your report we will process the recovery and provide you with a recovery report. This report includes the following information:
- Species banded
- Banding date
- Banding location
- Animal sex and age at banding
- Name of the researcher who banded the animal
- Distance between banding location and recovery location
- Time elapsed between banding and recovery.
We will also share details of your recovery with the researcher who banded the animal.
Foreign banding scheme bands
The ABBBS accepts reports of birds carrying bands from foreign banding schemes. You can follow the instructions in How to report a bird or bat band to the ABBBS to report these bands. The ABBBS will notify the relevant scheme and provide you with details of the bird’s banding history.
Examples of bird bands issued by foreign banding schemes
Domestic and pigeon bands
Some types of bands should not be reported to the ABBBS. These include pigeon bands, pet identification bands and bands used by domestic bird breeders. These bands are often closed rings (the ABBBS only issues split rings) and may be made of metal or plastic. Most domestic pigeon bands are covered in a coloured plastic coating. Bands may be marked with the year of banding, a mobile phone number, club prefix and/or individual ID.
Other organisations maintain their own records for banded domestic birds. If you think you may have found an escaped pet bird or domestic bird band, please refer to the following websites:
- The Victorian Homing Association (VHA) has published a National Ring List Register for Australian pigeon clubs.
- The Canary and Cage Bird Federation of Australia (CCBFA) has published a list of state and national clubs.
You may also wish to post the details of the bird on your local lost pet page on Facebook or contact a local veterinary clinic.
Examples of pigeon and domestic bird bands