Bird banding is the process of catching a bird and fitting it with a numbered metal band. This band is stamped with a unique alpha-numeric code which uniquely identifies that individual bird. The bands are distributed and the database managed by the Australian Government Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. The scheme regulates what birds (and bats) can be banded, by who and with what (different species require different band sizes and metal types). Some species are not able to be banded at all.
I first learnt to band with The Australian Bird Study Association (ABSA) in Sydney in 2007 and currently hold an A-class license and trainers permit. Banding has opened a number of amazing opportunities for me and I am eternally grateful to the ABSA team.
I have been a committee member with ABSA since 2012, currently serving as social media officer and membership officer. Previously I have held the position of secretary and treasurer.
ABSA aims to support ornithological research in Australia and has it's routes in the 1962 Bird Banders Association of NSW (history here). Although the scope of ABSA has since expanded, our core membership and activities relate to bird banding. There are a number of long-term bird banding projects in Australia (many >30 years old!) that are primarily run and supported by volunteers. These projects often serve as training sites for University students wanting to use bird banding in their projects.
One of ABSA's aims is to assist with the publication of ornithological research in Australia. Particularly for those outside of the university system (as many banders are!). To this end ABSA produces the peer-reviewed journal Corella and Avian Communities Through Time (reports from long-term banding projects). ABSA also runs the mist-net service which sells banding supplies to Australian researchers. Each year we present two awards and offer grants under the Fund for Avian Research (aka FAR grant). Additionally at each Australian Ornithological Conference we offer a student poster prize.
In 2019 I organised a Bird Banding symposium on behalf of ABSA at the Australasian Ornithological Conference in Darwin. The symposium attracted a lot if interest and featured talks from across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. We hope to be able to maintain this format in the future!
If you are interested in bird banding or being involved with the ABSA committee please get in touch. Also check out the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme website to learn what is involved in gaining a banding licence and find your regional coordinator.
Follow me on social media via the links below!