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We developed a technique to produce metal (aluminum) color bands, in response to concerns about leg injuries caused by celluloid-plastic color bands applied to Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii). The technique involves color-anodized aluminum bands (unnumbered blanks and federal numbered bands), with auto pin-striping tape and flexible epoxy sealant, to create a variety of solid, half- and triple-split colors. This allows for hundreds of unique, high-contrast color combinations. During six consecutive years of application, these colored metal bands have resisted color fade compared to conventional celluloid-plastic bands, and have reduced leg injuries in the flycatcher. Although not necessarily warranted for all color-banding studies, these metal bands may provide a lower-impact option for studies of species known to be impacted by plastic color bands.
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A technique to produce aluminum color bands for avian research