Radio transmitter attachment methodology is important to the design of radio telemetry studies. In 1998, we attached 5 transmitters to a captive population of Western Sandpipers(Calidris mauri) and 7 transmitters to wild Killdeer (Charadriusv ociferus) using a modified version of the Rappolea nd Tipton (1991) figure-8 leg-loop harness. Captive birds fitted with harnesses did not exhibit quantifiable differences in behavior relative to control birds. Based on initial success in using the leg-loop harnesses, we used harnesses to attach
transmitters in the wild to 30 Killdeer and 49 Dunlin (Calidris alpina) during the winters of 1998-1999 and 1999-2000. This was part of a study on movements of wintering shorebirds in the Willamette Valley of Oregon,USA. Wild birds showed no adverse effects of the harnesses.Thus, the described harness is a practical method for attachment of transmitters to shorebirds. Advantages of this harness method include a reduction in handling time at capture, elimination of the need to clip feathers for attachment, and increased transmitter retention time.
Additional publication details
Application of a modified harness design for attachment of radio transmitters to shorebirds