Aug 14, 2014

The impact of radio-tags on Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)

Theodore J ZenzalFrank R Moore


Radio telemetry has advanced the field of wildlife biology, especially with the miniaturization of radio-tags. However, the major limitation faced with radio-tagging birds is the size of the animal to which a radio-tag can be attached. We tested how miniature radio-tags affected flight performance and behavior of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds ( Archilochus colubris ), possibly the smallest bird species to be fitted with radio-tags. Using eyelash adhesive, we fitted hatch year individuals (n=20 males and 15 females) with faux radio-tags of three sizes varying in mass and antenna length (220mg-12.7cm, 240mg-12.7cm, and 220mg-6.35cm), then filmed the birds in a field aviary to quantify activity budgets. We also estimated flight range using flight simulation models. When the three radio-tag packages were pooled for analysis, the presence of a radio-tag significantly decreased both flight time (-8%) and modeled flight range (-23%) when compared to control birds. However, a multiple comparison analysis between the different packages revealed that there was a significant difference in flight time when the larger radio-tag package (240mg) was attached and no significant difference in flight time when the lighter radio-tag packages (220mg)...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Molecular Probe Techniques
Genus Archilochus
Radio Communications
Antenna Complex

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