Effects of back-mounted radio packages on breeding Wood Ducks

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) Science Article 1


The effects of back-mounted radio transmitters on reproductive effort and return rates of pre-nesting pairs and incubating female Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) were investigated. Twenty of 22 pre-nesting pairs remained together after capture and radio-marking, but only two females from radio-marked pairs attempted to incubate, and none were captured in nest boxes during the subsequent 2-3 breeding seasons. Nest success, duckling survival and return rates did not differ significantly between a sample of females radio-marked during incubation and those leg-banded only, but statistical power was low (0.11-0.32). Detrimental effects of back-mounted radio transmitters may preclude their use in studies of pre-nesting Wood Duck pairs, but back-mounted transmitters appear to have minimal effects on incubating and brood-rearing females

James H. Gammonley and James R. Kelley, JR., J. Field Orntthol, 65(4):530-533

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