What's that thing on my bird's leg?

Bands are like little ID bracelets. Just think of them like you would a dog license. They help identify the bird. Closed bands are placed on a chick while it is still young. As the chick gets older the feet grow and the band cannot be removed without clipping it off. Open bands are placed on the bird when it is already an adult. These bands were frequently used in quaratine stations when the USA used to import birds.

What information do bands carry?

(up to down) Cockatiel, lovebird and budgie bands. Bands can tell you many things. The information given varies but usually the state, year, ID number and breeder are given. For instance, my cockatiel Melonie's band says "CA LS 92 52." This means she was bred in California (the state is often written sideways), her breeder's initials or business abbreviation is L.S., she was hatched in 1992 and her ID # is 52. Breeders can pick and choose what they want on the bands. Some will not contain a year since the breeder may not use up all of his or her bands in one year.

Why is banding so important?

Bands provide positive ID of a bird. If a bird is purchased and then later returned the seller can verify that the returned bird is in fact the same one sold. They may also tell you how old your bird is or help identify it in case of theft (though some crooks do cut the bands off). Closed bands are also fairly good proof that a bird was captive breed.

Aren't bands harmful?

Open bands can be dangerous because the small slit in them may catch on things. Most of the time bands are very safe. Hens usually do not attack babies with bands nor do birds mind them at all. Injuries can occur when a band catches on something but most of the time this is the result of an unsafe cage. I've only had one band-related mishap. I wasn't careful and used a paperclip to hang a seed dispenser. One of my budgies got hung up on it; luckily he suffered no injuries. This was my own fault, not the band's. I got sloppy.

Feisty Feathers® Bands

Not all my chicks are banded; sometimes I run out or just don't get to the chicks in time. However, I try to band all the chicks I can. My species are each color-coded. Redfronted kakarikis are banded with blue bands and cockatiels with purple. Until this year I've always used the state bands for my budgies, which were color-coded differently each year. However, I received word that the state no longer issues bands, so I just ordered my budgie bands in the same color as the state bands last year- gold. My bands contain the state (CA), my initials (KKT) and an ID number, but no year. I've also recently started banding my adult kaks with colored plastic open bands, so that I can see at a glance who is paired with who. Many of the adult kaks look alike.

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