Effects of color bands on adult birds have been investigated in many studies, but much less is known about the effects of bands on birds banded at hatch. We captured Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) chicks at hatch on the Alaskan North Slope and attached 0-3 bands to them. The chicks were resighted and reweighed during the subsequent two weeks. The number of chicks banded varied from 18 to 21 among treatments; 6-9 were resighted, and 6-7 were reweighed, per treatment. The proportion resighted varied from 0.33 to 0.45. The estimated resighting probability, given that we encountered a brood, was 82%. We tested for effects of the bands on survival and mass gain by analyzing whether the proportion of chicks resighted, or their mass, varied with the number of bands. We found no evidence that bands affected the chicks and were able to rule out (with 95% confidence) a decline in survivorship of more than 13% and a loss of mass of more than 10%. Although bands had little if any effect on chicks in our study, we believe their effects should be evaluated whenever survivorship or mass gain are estimated using color-marked chicks.
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Effects of color bands on Semipalmated Sandpipers banded at hatch