The aerodynamic drag of bird bodies was measured in a wind tunnel, with and without back-mounted dummy radio transmitters. Flight performance estimates indicate that the drag of a large transmitter can cause a substantial reduction of a migrant's range, that is, the distance it can cover in non-stop flight. The drag of the transmitter can be reduced by arranging the components in an elongated shape, so minimizing the frontal area. The addition of a rounded fairing to the front end, and a pointed fairing behind, was found to reduce the drag of the transmitter by about onethird, as compared with an unfaired rectangular box.
Additional publication details
Wind tunnel experiments to assess the effect of back-mounted radio transmitters on bird body drag