We examined the problem of heterogeneous survival and recovery rates in bird banding estimation models. We suggest that positively correlated subgroup survival and recovery probabilities may result from winter banding operations and that this situation will produce positively biased survival rate estimates. The magnitude of the survival estimate bias depends on the proportion of the population in each subgroup. Power of the suggested goodness-of-fit test to reject the inappropriate model for heterogeneous data sets was low for all situations examined and was poorest for positively related subgroup survival and recovery rates. Despite the magnitude of some of the biases reported and the relative inability to detect heterogeneity, we suggest that levels of heterogeneity normally encountered in real data sets will produce relatively small biases of average survival rates.
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Additional comments on the assumption of homogenous survival rates in modern bird banding estimation models