A review of Impacts of Tracking Devices on Birds

Authors: Geldart, Erica A., Lesley-Anne Howes, Hazel Wheeler, and Stuart A. MacKenzie

Year: 2023

Publication: North American Bird Bander

Publication Link: https://easternbirdbanding.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/201-212.pdf

Abstract: Over the past few decades, extrinsic tracking devices
(e.g., radio transmitters, GPS loggers, satellite
transmitters, geolocators) have been widely used
to study wildlife movement and other demographic
parameters. Remote tracking and monitoring technology
is continually advancing, and its use by researchers is
becoming more widespread. Minimizing any potential
impacts of tracking devices on focal species is of
upmost importance in order to ensure and promote
animal welfare and reliable scientific information.
Many researchers aim to understand any potential
short- or long-term impacts of remote tracking, and to
develop methods that support the responsible and safe
tagging of birds (e.g., Geen et al. 2019). As tracking
projects become more mainstream, it is critical that
banders and researchers stay up to date and contribute
to current base of knowledge on the topic. This review
summarizes available research demonstrating the
impacts of attaching a variety of tracking devices to
birds in order to guide and promote minimally invasive
methods of deploying tracking devices, and to highlight
the need for continued study of the effects of devices
and attachment methods on bird welfare.

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