Leg bands are one of the oldest and most widespread of methods used to mark individual birds for study, but different kinds of bands may influence results obtained. We compared recoveries from closed aluminium and butt-ended stainless steel leg bands deployed on Australian Pelicans Pelecanus conspicillatus between 1968 and 2004. All 64 recoveries from the 2123 closed aluminium bands deployed exhibited wear, whereas none of the 162 recoveries from the 12 427 butt-ended stainless steel bands deployed were worn. Closed aluminium bands resulted in 2.3 times as many recoveries overall, but half the recoveries within one year of deployment compared to butt-ended stainless steel bands. Only butt-ended stainless steel bands were recorded as "band only found", suggesting they became dislodged from pelicans. This was confirmed with pelicans that were simultaneously marked with leg bands and patagial tags. Together these data show that butt-ended stainless steel bands, while offering greater durability, result in less useful data than closed aluminium bands. A leg band that combines the durability of stainless steel bands and reliability of closed aluminium bands would provide a better proposition for the future studies of Australian Pelicans.
|Number of pages
|CORELLA-JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN BIRD STUDY ASSOCIATION
|Published - 1 Dec 2014