Banded and Broken

The adventures of banded migratory birds and dangers they face on their long travels can lead them to facilities just like ours. This is the story of one patient who, after a short stay is back on their journey south.


Did you know that researchers will place small bands on migratory birds to study a variety of factors? If a banded bird is seen or caught, the number can be sent to the National Bird Banding Laboratory. This database providesĀ information that helps biologistsĀ learn about migration paths and how long an individual bird might live.

The band on this tiny bird holds a wealth of information. This patients’ experience will be documented with the National Bird Banding Laboratory.
We received an American goldfinch patient in September. To our surprise it was originally banded in Canada just a few months earlier. Due to the fact that he had adult feathers at the time, it was assumed that he was at least two years old. We assume that he was migrating south when he hit a window.
Luckily for him, the finder knew to bring him to Wildlife Images for an exam where we found that he came in with a fracture in his left wing. This break was in an area which allowed the wing to be wrapped. The wing wrap works like a splint or cast – stabilizing the bones and allowing time to heal in the proper position.
After a couple of weeks, we removed the wrap and started physical therapy until he was able to fly again on his own. He was released this week into a flock of goldfinches where he hopefully will continue on his migration south for the winter months.
We hope that he will be found again someday and that his band can provide further information to those studying these little birds. For more information about bird banding, click here.