Veterinary Record 169:308-309 doi:10.1136/vr.d5778
  • Research
  • Editorial

Effects of attaching telemetry equipment to free-living birds

  1. Andrew Dixon, BSc, PhD
  1. International Wildlife Consultants, PO Box 19, Carmarthen SA33 5YL, UK
  1. e-mail: falco{at}

TECHNOLOGICAL developments in telemetry techniques have meant that a wide range of tracking tools are now available for biologists to study the movements and demographics of free-living birds, while miniaturisation has significantly increased the number of species that can be tracked remotely. Furthermore, improvement in battery technology, especially combined with the ability to recharge them via solar panels, has meant that telemetry tags can now remain functional for several years. For long-lived avian species, such as birds of prey, it is often necessary for researchers to collect data over long periods of time in order to better understand the factors influencing their behaviour and survival during their lifetime. The method used to attach telemetry tags to birds is often dictated by the size of the tag and its functional longevity. Generally speaking, short-life transmitters can be fixed directly to the plumage of a bird and are subsequently shed when the feathers are moulted, whereas long-life transmitters need a more permanent method of attachment such as a harness, neck collar or internal …

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