I developed a modified leg harness for mounting radiotelemetry transmitters to small birds, which includes a weak link that allows telemetry equipment to be shed. Over 4 years, I mounted 62 transmitters on 49 Tuamotu kingfishers (Todiramphus gambieri) using weak-link harnesses. Kingfishers retained 86% of transmitters for the duration of monitoring periods (23–66 days) whereas 22 of 23 transmitters were shed from birds resighted after 6–15 months. Apparent mortality was no higher for radio-marked birds than for birds without transmitters. The weak-link harness is an improvement to existing transmitter attachment techniques and provides a useful, effective, and ethical means of studying bird movements.
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Vol. 75 • No. 2