Satellite tracking is currently used to make inferences to avian populations. Cost of transmitters and logistical challenges of working with some species can limit sample size and strength of inferences. Therefore, careful study design including consideration of sample size is important. We used simulations to examine how sample size, population size, and population variance affected probability of making reliable inferences from a sample and the precision of estimates of population parameters. For populations of >100 individuals, a sample >20 birds was needed to make reliable inferences about questions with simple outcomes (i.e., 2 possible outcomes). Sample size demands increased rapidly for more complex problems. For example, in a problem with 3 outcomes, a sample of >75 individuals will be needed for proper inference to the population. Combining data from satellite telemetry studies with data from surveys or other types of sampling may improve inference strength.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3