Longevity Records

These are some longevity records from our banding studies. Only birds with at least three years between captures are included in the table, and only the two or three oldest birds of each species are noted.  An (*) indicates that the bird was recaptured or recovered dead away from campus.

The minimum age for each bird is calculated by using the age at banding and the time between captures.  Birds are assumed to have been hatched in June for calculation purposes. More on how ages are calculated here.

Key to Age at Banding: L = Local, or a bird just out of the nest; SY = Second year, or a bird that was born the previous nesting season; AHY = After Hatching Year, or a bird that was born no later than the previous nesting season (perhaps older).

Original date Age at banding Recovery date Minimum
age
*Mourning Dove 5 May 1974 Unknown 30 Sep 1977 3 y, 4 m
Eastern Screech-Owl 23 Oct 1984 Unknown 20 May 1987 2 y, 7 m
Downy Woodpecker 20 Aug 1998 L 7 May 2002 3 y, 11 m
Downy Woodpecker 20 Aug 2010 HY 15 Aug 2013 3 y, 2 m
Hairy Woodpecker 2 Jun 1983 AHY 22 May 1995 12 y, 11 m
Red-eyed Vireo 29 Aug 2003 AHY 25 Aug 2009 7 y, 2 m
*Blue Jay 2 Apr 1973 AHY 1 May 1979 6 y, 11 m
Black-capped Chickadee 12 Aug 1992 Unknown 25 Oct 1998 6 y, 4 m
Wood Thrush1 30 May 1995 AHY 6 May 2003 8 y, 11 m
American Robin 28 Apr 1998 SY 26 May 2004 6 y, 11 m
American Robin 28 Oct 2005 HY 5 Nov 2011 6 y, 5 m
American Robin 21 Aug 2008 AHY 15 Aug 2013 6 y, 2 m
Gray Catbird 23 Aug 1983 AHY 10 May 1991 8 y, 11 m
Gray Catbird 15 Jun 1999 AHY 16 May 2005 6 y, 11 m
Gray Catbird 17 May 2005 SY 17 Sep 2009 5 y, 3 m
*American Tree Sparrow 1 Dec 1972 Unknown 22 Nov 1977 5 y, 5 m
Song Sparrow 7 Oct 1992 AHY 17 Apr 1996 5 y, 10 m
White-throated Sparrow 23 Oct 1998 AHY 4 Nov 2001 3 y, 5 m
*Dark-eyed Junco 7 Apr 1995 AHY 29 Mar 1998 3 y, 9 m
Northern Cardinal 13 May 1994 AHY 9 Feb 2002 8 y, 8 m
Northern Cardinal 5 Oct 1999 AHY 22 Apr 2008 8 y, 6 m
Northern Cardinal 13 Apr 2003 AHY 16 Sep 2009 9 y, 10 m
Northern Cardinal2 19 Apr 2001 SY 3 Oct 2012 12 y, 4 m
Northern Cardinal 9 Oct 2001 U 3 Sep 2013 12 y, 3 m
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 10 May 1993 AHY 20 May 1997 4 y, 11 m
Indigo Bunting3 23 Aug 2003 SY 29 Sep 2010 8 y, 3 m
Red-winged Blackbird 22 Apr 1998 SY 14 Apr 2003 5 y, 10 m
Brown-headed Cowbird 20 Jun 1979 AHY 2 Jun 1983 5 y
Baltimore Oriole 6 Jul 1998 SY 15 Aug 2000 3 y, 2 m
*American Goldfinch4 30 Oct 1997 AHY 27 May 2004 7 y, 11 m

A full list of North American longevity records can be found at the Bird Banding Lab’s longevity web site.

Please note: All data is provisional and not to be cited without permission.

Latest update September 2013.

  1. The age of this bird makes it one of the three oldest recorded for North America.
  2. The age of this bird makes it one of the three oldest recorded for North America.
  3. The age of this bird makes it the longevity record for North America.
  4. The age of this bird makes it one of the 6th oldest records for North America.

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