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22 October 2019 An assessment of radio telemetry for monitoring shorebird chick survival and causes of mortality
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Context. Monitoring survival of free-living precocial avian young is critical for population management, but difficult to achieve. Perhaps the most promising technique available to track survival is the deployment of devices such as radio-transmitters or data loggers, which allow for tracking of the individuals.

Aims. To understand if the deployment of radio-transmitters or the process of radio-tracking negatively impact chick survival by analysing survival of tagged chicks.

Methods. Fifty masked lapwing (Vanellus miles), 42 red-capped plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) and 27 hooded plover (Thinornis cucullatus) chicks were radio-tracked. Mortality between tagged and untagged chicks within broods was compared to examine whether radio-telemetry influenced chick survival.

Key results. There was no statistically significant difference in survival between chicks with and without radio-transmitters. Radio-transmitters enabled the determination of cause of death for 0–28% of radio-tagged chicks.

Conclusion. The survival of shorebird chicks does not appear to be affected by attachment of transmitters.

Implications. Radio-tracking remains a promising way of studying the movement and survival of shorebird chicks, and is helpful but not reliable for assigning the cause of mortality.

© CSIRO 2019
Daniel Lees, Tom Schmidt, Craig D. H. Sherman, Grainne S. Maguire, Peter Dann, Glenn Ehmke, and Michael A. Weston "An assessment of radio telemetry for monitoring shorebird chick survival and causes of mortality," Wildlife Research 46(7), 622-627, (22 October 2019).
Received: 17 February 2018; Accepted: 7 July 2019; Published: 22 October 2019

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