We estimated loss of butt-end leg bands on male wild turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo) captured in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (USA) during December–March, 2006–2008. We used aluminum rivet leg bands as permanent marks to estimate loss of regular aluminum, enameled aluminum, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel butt-end leg bands placed below the spur. We used band loss information from 887 turkeys recovered between 31 days and 570 days after release (x¯ = 202 days). Band loss was greater for turkeys banded as adults (>1 yr old) than juveniles and was greater for aluminum than stainless steel bands. We estimated band retention was 79–96%, depending on age at banding and type of band, for turkeys recovered 3 months after release. Band retention was <50% for all age classes and band types 15 months after banding. We concluded that use of butt-end leg bands on male wild turkeys is inappropriate for use in mark–recapture studies.
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Vol. 73 • No. 6