These color bands with the large letters have been used at Roseate Tern 
colonies for the last few years. They are known as PFRs (Plastic Field Readable 
bands). They are the latest incarnation of attempts to devise a band that is 
easily identifiable in the field. An important point to remember in recording 
these bands is that the coloring of the characters is just as important as the 
color of the band. I am guessing that the two blue bands you mention had white 
lettering. If you confirm this I will see if I can get them identified. I would 
encourage anyone seeing these bands to report them to the US Bird Banding Lab’s 
website ( This will get them into the national dataset and you 
will find out where they are from. One last note: while all the reports I have 
seen recently have been of bands with a letter and two digits, there are also 
PFRs in use now with two letters and a digit. 

Joe DiCostanzo

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 18, 2018, at 6:05 PM, Steve Walter <> wrote:
> Another day, another Arctic Tern at Nickerson Beach. Actually, my first for 
> the year, and this one had to be waited on. It might have been too foggy in 
> the morning for it to find land (joke). Interesting bird this one. My tern 
> guru advises me to call it a “second summer type”. Basically adult looking 
> with a red bill, but with a carpal bar and speckling on the forehead (not 
> well visible in the picture I posted). In a similar vein, there was a Roseate 
> Tern of less than full adult appearance. This bird, and also a full adult, 
> had readable blue legs bands. Maybe others have seen this, but this is the 
> first time I’ve seen terns with something more readable in the field than the 
> metal bands. I’ll reports these (bands B97 and Y11) and find out more in due 
> time. But perhaps someone on this list might know something (Joe D?).  Also, 
> a Gull-billed Tern flying over the east tern colony around mid-day. Pictures 
> of the Arctic and Roseates have been added to the bottom of the Recent Work 
> page at my web site .
> Steve Walter
> Bayside, NY
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