A new plasticine-filled leg band was developed for use in banding dayold ducklings. These bands permit inference about early survival that is not possible from banding of older young in standard operations. Two double-marking experiments with web tags and the new leg bands indicated a high retention rate for the leg bands. In contrast, several web tags were lost, permitting an analysis directed at sources of variation in web tag retention rates. We found retention rates of web tags to be higher for diving ducks (Aythya) than for dabbling ducks (Anas), and higher for tags placed the web interior than for those applied to the web edge. However, we recommend that the new plasticine-filled leg bands be used in place of web tags because of their higher retention rates and presumably greater visibility to hunters. We believe they offer great potential for new studies of duckling survival and distribution.
Additional publication details
Retention of web tags and plasticine-filled leg bands applied to day-old ducklings