Identification bands on homing pigeons have a series of letters and numbers that national pigeon associations issue to individual pigeons in order to identify them. These codes make it possible to identify the names and addresses of owners of lost pigeons. Owners that do not register their pigeons with a national organization frequently display their own contact information on their pigeons’ identification bands.
The typical information contained on a pigeon identification bracelet is the acronym for the organization that registered the pigeon, the year of registration, the club to which the pigeon belongs, and a serial number that identifies the pigeon within its club.
The American Racing Pigeon Union issues identification bands that begin with the acronym AU, while the National Pigeon Association issues bracelets beginning with the acronym NPA. International countries follow a similar format when registering pigeons. CU is the code for the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union.
If a pigeon is lost, the person who finds the pigeon can use the code on the identification bracelet to contact the appropriate national organization. The national organizations keep records of all registered pigeon and can contact the owners' specific clubs. Each pigeon within a local club has its own serial number, which makes it possible to contact individual owners and return lost pigeons to their homes.