Effects of radio packages on wild ducks

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 


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A total of 211 wild, free-flying mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and wood ducks (Aix sponsa) were equipped with breast-mounted radio packages during the breeding seasons of 1968-72. Known predation loss was 7.6 and 12.0 percent for mallards and wood ducks respectively, 60 percent occurred within 3 weeks of instrumentation. The highest predation rate for mallards was 0.0048 kills per tracking day and 0.0136 for wood ducks. A higher direct recovery rate for instrumented birds (19.5 percent) than noninstrumented birds (8.1 percent) was probably due to the novelty of the transmitter to hunters. Departure patterns and locations of direct recoveries were similar between radio-equipped and normal-banded birds. Among female wood ducks with radios, recovery rates were lower than expected. Hunters indicated that 84 percent of the instrumented ducks recovered were in good or excellent condition. Recaptures of ducks as long as 1 year after being equipped with radio packages indicated that feather wear and skin abrasion were not serious. A high rate for feeding on land by instrumented mallards was probably due to our ability to more easily locate and observe these birds in cover. Preening rates were higher for instrumented ducks. As the birds became adjusted to the package, preening decreased and feeding on water increased. Social and breeding behavior of instrumented ducks did not appear to be adversely affected by the radio package.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of radio packages on wild ducks
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 38
Issue 2
Year Published 1974
Language English
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 243
Last page 252