Bird banding in America dates back to John James Audubon, who, in 1803, marked a brood of phoebes with silver wire. The following year, the birds were recaptured near the area where they originally nested. Several banding schemes became popular, and in 1909, the American Bird Banding Association was formed as part of the Linnaean Society of New York.
In 1920, the Biological Survey (then part of the Fish & Wildlife Service, now part of the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division) took over the administration of bird banding. Since then, millions of birds have been banded.