Radiotelemetry is used extensively in zoographic studies of wildlife species, including northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). These studies assume that radiomarking does not affect survival of marked individuals. However, most researchers implicitly acknowledge that capture, handling, and radiomarking may have short-term deleterious effects on individuals and, therefore, include in analyses only animals that survive an adjustment period of arbitrary length (often 7 days) following capture and marking. Length of adjustment period is rarely empirically based and may potentially bias survival estimates. We outline an analytical approach to determine an appropriate adjustment period and illustrate this approach by examining effects of time-since-marking on survival of 410 northern bobwhite captured during winter from 1997 to 2001, in Mississippi, USA. We modeled daily survival rates using time-since-marking as a covariate in the nest-survival model of Program MARK. Although survival varied among and within years, we found no evidence to suggest that standard adjustment periods of 7–14 days were appropriate for our sample. If adjustment periods are used in radiotelemetry studies, those that are empirically based may be more appropriate than arbitrarily set periods.
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Vol. 73 • No. 6