Banding – Not This Year

Sad to say, I won’t be banding here anymore unless I hit the lottery or KY changes the state permit fee.  Let me explain, very simply.  All master banders in the USA must have a federal permit.  Most states in the USA acknowledge that the federal permit is adequate and do not require  additional state permits.  Some states do require a state permit as well – in which case, a bander must obtain a state permit in order to band legally.  Those states that do require a state permit normally charge a permit fee of around $25 for the year.

A few years ago (2003, I think) when I first banded in KY, my state permit fee was $25.  Imagine my surprise last year when I applied for the permit again after being away for several years – and the permit fee was $250.00.  Now, technically, according to the KY regulations, the fee applied to banders who were receiving renumeration for banding, i.e. through a university or museum etc.  If the bander was banding for educational purposes, there was no fee for the state permit.  I didn’t fit into either category (like most banders, I am an independent, volunteer bander operating a small station).  After several emails and questions about regulations, the powers that be decided I had to go ahead and pay the $250 fee if I wanted to band birds in KY.

Since I had already ordered nets, bands, and obtained permission from the landowner of my site, and since I had some extra funds laying around, I paid the fee last year.

This year, KY has reduced its state permit fee to $100 – but it is still $75-100 more than most states.  This year, I don’t have a lot of extra cash laying around, and  I have to think about the long-term cost of this, year after year.  Just not feasible for me.  It becomes a matter of principle too – I don’t shop at stores that over-charge for products, so why should I have to do it here?  At some point you have to just say no more.

SO – no, there won’t be any more banding unless I win the lottery (in which case,  I probably would set this particular principle aside haha), or KY does away with  or reduces the state permit fee to $25.

It’s a shame really – this was a promising site and much good data could have come from this research, but oh well.  I will continue to observe and monitor and report.  It’s a little discouraging.  But my federal permit is good for years yet, and so I’ll just tuck the nets away, store my equipment, and wait and see.  The fee was reduced this year, so maybe it will change again in the future.


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