Effects of backpack radiotags on female northern pintails wintering in California

Wildlife Society Bulletin


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To test whether backpack radiotags impacted the wintering biology of northern pintails (Anas acuta), I attached spear-suture (SSU, n=82 in 1993) or harness (HAR, n=337 in 1991-1993) backpack radiotags to female Hatch-Year (HY) and After-Hatch-Year (AHY) pintails after their autumn arrival in California. I evaluated impacts of radiotags on 1) wintering population distribution; 2) flock status, flock size, and body mass at harvest; and 3) August-March survival. I also compared retention of SSU and HAR following attachment. Distribution, flock status, and flock size at harvest of HAR, SSU, and unmarked (UMK) pintails were similar. However, harvest mass of HAR pintails averaged 1 33 g (SE=25 g) less than UMK pintails; loss tended to be greatest for heavier HY females in 1 993. Daily survival rates during 1 993-1 994 of HAR vs. SSU pintails were similar for both HY (0.9979 vs. 0.9974) and AHY (0.9988 vs. 0.9986) female pintails. Retention ranged from 30-1 58 days (x=81 d, SE=5 d) for the 37 SSU that I confirmed as being shed; all other SSU failed 1-month studies due to poor retention past a month.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of backpack radiotags on female northern pintails wintering in California
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 31
Issue 1
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 8 p.
First page 212
Last page 219