Bird Banding Scheme in Japan—Its Significance and Future Perspective
Journal of Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
Bird banding is a survey method of attaching uniquely marked rings on a bird's leg. Recaptured or resighted data of marked individuals enable researchers to study the ecology of birds, such as the migration and life history. The first bird banding survey took place in Denmark in 1899, and now many researchers and organizations around the world carry out such surveys. In Japan, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce (the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy,
... rade and Industry at present) started the bird banding scheme in 1924. The scheme was interrupted during and after World War II, but was resumed in 1961. During 59 years from 1961 to 2019, a total of 6,108,529 individuals (499 species) were marked and released, of which 40,607 individuals (262 species) were recovered. The numbers of marked and recovered individuals in the latest year (2019) were 126,907 individuals (282 species) and 1,254 individuals (88 species) , respectively. Based on this comprehensive database, numerous findings and knowledge were obtained, including migration routes and life spans of many species, population trends of endangered species, avifaunal data of a certain region, birds' response to climate change, contribution to the measure for avian influenza, and so on. The bird banding survey has contributed to the conservation of biodiversity, one of the most critical global issues today. We believe it is important to conduct and continue the survey with a sense of purpose and mission for greater good in mind.