An important assumption of mark–recapture studies is that individuals retain their marks, which has not been assessed for goose reward bands. We estimated aluminum leg band retention probabilities and modeled how band retention varied with band type (standard vs. reward band), band age (1–40 months), and goose characteristics (species and size class) for Canada (Branta canadensis), cackling (Branta hutchinsii), snow (Chen caerulescens), and Ross's (Chen rossii) geese that field coordinators double-leg banded during a North American goose reward band study (N = 40,999 individuals from 15 populations). We conditioned all models in this analysis on geese that were encountered with ≥1 leg band still attached (n = 5,747 dead recoveries and live recaptures). Retention probabilities for standard aluminum leg bands were high ( = 0.9995, SE < 0.001) and constant over 1–40 months. In contrast, apparent retention probabilities for reward bands demonstrated an interactive relationship between 5 size and species classes (small cackling, medium Canada, large Canada, snow, and Ross's geese). In addition, apparent retention probabilities for each of the 5 classes varied quadratically with time, being lower immediately after banding and at older age classes. The differential retention probabilities among band type (reward vs. standard) that we observed suggests that 1) models estimating reporting probability should incorporate differential band loss if it is nontrivial, 2) goose managers should consider the costs and benefits of double-banding geese on an operational basis, and 3) the United States Geological Survey Bird Banding Lab should modify protocols for receiving recovery data.
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Vol. 73 • No. 1