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The effectiveness of various attachment methods and designs of platform transmitting terminals (PTT's) was tested on captive sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland, during 1989-91. Combinations of attachment and transmitter designs included neoprene cord harness with batteries separate from the transmitter (2 harness designs), Teflon ribbon harness with batteries incorporated into the transmitter package (4 transmitter models), and a package attached directly to the bird with epoxy glue only. Physical effects seen on cranes wearing PTT's ranged from skin lacerations (caused by rubbing of harness material) to no observed effects (other than feather wear). The most successful harness material and design utilized a Teflon ribbon harness with the 4 ribbon ends from the transmitter forming a neck loop and a body loop joined at the sternum. Time spent by sandhill cranes performing most activities did not change after transmitter attachment using this harness method.
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Behavior of sandhill cranes harnessed with different satellite transmitters