The value of radio telemetry for waterfowl research depends on the availability of suitable methods of attaching transmitters. In previous studies, external transmitters attached to adult Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) with sutures and glue did not stay on birds reliably. In an attempt to improve transmitter retention, a method of attachment was tested in which 4-g transmitters were attached mid-dorsally with sutures and with a stainless steel anchor-shaped wire inserted subcutaneously (anchor transmitters). Field tests indicated that all of 26 female Mallards and 63 of 65 female Gadwalls (Anas strepera) retained their anchor transmitters during 4369 bird-days of monitoring during nesting and brood rearing. Survival rates of females with anchor transmitters compared favorably with those reported from other studies. In this study, females with and without anchor transmitters did not differ with respect to survival rates of their ducklings. The anchor transmitter may be suitable for a variety of field studies on numerous species.
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Modified transmitter attachment method for adult ducks