Radio transmitters are an important tool in waterfowl ecology studies, but little is known about their effects on free-ranging geese. We attached transmitters to female brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) to investigate migration schedules at a fall staging area, return rates to nesting grounds, and nesting rates of returning females in subsequent breeding seasons. Radio-tagged females (n = 62) carried either 35-g back-mounted transmitters attached with ribbon harnesses, or 26- or 32-g back-mounted transmitters affixed with plastic-coated wire harnesses (Dwyer 1972). Arrival and departure schedules at Izembek Lagoon, Alaska, did not differ (P > 0.05) between radio-tagged females and the entire population in 1987-89. Color-banded females with transmitters returned to the breeding colony in subsequent nesting seasons (1988-92) at a lower (P ≤ 0.003) rate (≤4%) than color-banded females without transmitters (57-83%). The 1 returning color-banded female with a transmitter did not breed, while an average 90% of the returning color-banded females without transmitters nested in subsequent breeding seasons (P = 0.005). Back-mounted, harness-attached transmitters may bias data in studies of waterfowl behavior, productivity, and survival.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Effects of harness-attached transmitters on premigration and reproduction of Brant|
|Series title||Journal of Wildlife Management|
|Contributing office(s)||Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB, Alaska Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Izembek Lagoon|