The possible role of tag color in mediating behaviors that could bias resighting rate has not been examined. In a study that began in 2007, we marked 725 ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) with Bondcote royal blue, green, yellow, or orange patagial tags. Reports we gathered over 2 years indicated approximately a 3.4∶1 bias in resighting rate toward yellow or orange tags. The observed bias is inconsistent with color-associated visibility bias or differential mortality among color-tagged breeding adults. Potential behavioral effects of tag color on individuals and conspecifics should be considered by biologists when planning marking studies.
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Vol. 74 • No. 8