On Tuesday we caught this adult female Myrtle Warbler (the eastern race of Yellow-rumped Warbler) and it already had a band. This happens quite frequently, as we recapture birds that we have already banded during their stopover. When I began to read out the band number 2290-36370, however, I realized that it was not a band from our inventory. Myrtle Warblers take a size zero band, and all of ours start with prefix 2500. I was very excited. Since I began at TTPBRS in 2009, I have not yet encountered a bird from another station!
When I got home I went to the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) website to look up the band number. The BBL is jointly administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service and the US Geological Survey, and they keep a database of all of the birds banded in North America. It took 5 minutes for me to fill out a form, and the information was instantly available. It turns out that the bird was first banded as a hatch-year female at Pelee Island on October 6, 2009! This bird is now on her fifth migration. Wish her luck!
If you ever find a banded bird or a stray band, visit http://www.reportband.gov/ to report it. The data from these encounters is rare, and provides valuable information about migratory routes, dispersal and longevity. You will also receive a certificate with all of the information about that bird. I am looking forward to getting that piece of paper in the mail!