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Close Banding Finch Chicks
Close bands Banding Step 1
Closed bands are usually stamped with the year and sequential numbers. These bands from Red Bird Products are stamped with the year, my initials and sequential numbers. I start the year with a band numbered 1001 and progress from there. At any time I can quickly tell how many birds I have raised that year by the band number most recently used.

Closed bands are the easiest way to keep track of your birds but must be applied when the chicks are still in the nest.

This Timor Zebra finch is about 12 days old. You can band most finches right up to the day they fledge, but most finches are banded around 9-11 days old. The trick is to band chicks when they are old enough to get the band on, but not so young that it falls off.

Start by holding the chick in your left hand and extending the right leg. (left-handers can do the reverse)

Banding Step 2 Banding Step 3
Get the front 3 toes into the band. It's helpful to use the toenails to "hook" them into the band. Start pushing the band up on the toes. Grab the toes that are now poking out of the band and pull the band up to the joint.
Banding Step 4 Banding Step 5
Holding onto the front 3 toes, begin pulling the band over the joint. At this stage of life, the joint is soft and pliable. If you're banding the chick very near fledging, you may need to twist the band a bit to get it over the joint or use a drop of water as a lubricant. Don't force it though. Make sure you have the appropriate size band. Occasionally, you will find a bird that requires the next larger size band. Pull the band up past the joint and over the back toe. Continue pulling the band up the leg to the second joint. Stop just as the back toe's nail is hooked in the band.
Banding Step 6 Banding Step 7
Grab the back toe and pull it free from the band. Some people use a toothpick to pry out the toe from the band, but I find that just pulling it free is fine. Check the fit of the band to assure that it does not bind and moves freely on the leg. Remember the bird still has some growing to do.

How to Apply Split Bands.

Suppliers of Closed Finch Bands
Red Bird Products (530) 620-7440
Nation Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS)