Use of heat-shrink tubing to attach radio transmitters to bird rectrices.

Mark G. Alessi, Arlo J. Raim, Tara A. Beveroth, Misty N. Barron, Michael P. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers have been attaching radio transmitters to birds for over 50 yr, which has greatly increased our knowledge about the behavior of many bird species. However, because researchers are interested in studying the behavior of birds, it is important to attach the transmitters in a manner that mitigates any potential effects the transmitter may have on a bird's behavior. We present a new method to attach radio transmitters to the rectrices of birds, specifica11y passerines, using heat-shrink tubing. We attached 27 0.8-g transmitters to 40 Ye11ow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens), and 10 1.1-g transmitters to 10 American Robins (Turdus migra-torious). The mean duration of transmitter attachment was 16.5 days for chats and 48.5 days for robins. Our observations suggest that this method had little effect on the behavior of the birds. We discuss species and ques-tions for which this method is most suited.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1--6
JournalNorth American Bird Bander
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


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