Venous blood gas partial pressures, pH, bicarbonate and lactate concentrations, packed cell volume, white blood cell differential counts, and heterophil/lymphocyte ratios were measured from Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Boat-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus major), and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus). Birds were bled promptly after mist-net capture and banding or following a targeted delay of 45–60 min, in order to assess the impacts of a brief holding period commonly practiced in large-scale bird banding operations. Additionally, effects of venipuncture location (basilic [=ulnar] vein versus jugular vein) were evaluated in male Boat-tailed Grackles sampled promptly after capture and banding. All comparisons were with unpaired samples; no birds were subjected to more than one venipuncture. All three species exhibited moderate improvements in blood gas and acid-base status after the delay, with reductions in lactate concentrations with or without concurrent increases in pH and bicarbonate. Boat-tailed Grackles exhibited an increased proportion of heterophils in the differential white blood cell count following a delay in sampling, suggestive of a stress leukogram. There were no significant differences between basilic and jugular venipuncture results from male Boat-tailed Grackles. Most metabolic, respiratory, and acid-base alterations were minor, but a small number of birds exhibited values (e.g., temperature-corrected pH <7.3, lactate >10 mmol/L) that could be of concern if combined with other adverse conditions. For such birds, a short delay between capture and processing could benefit their blood gas and acid-base status, although loss of time foraging or feeding young and greater activation of the hypophyseal-pituitary-adrenal axis are additional considerations.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2s