Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (613 KB)

Title: Effects of radio transmitters on the behavior of Red-headed Woodpeckers

Author: Vukovich, Mark; Kilgo, John C.;

Date: 2009

Source: j. Field Ornithol. 80(3):308-313

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Previous studies have revealed that radio-transmitters may affect bird behaviors, including feeding rates, foraging behavior, vigilance, and preening behavior. In addition, depending on the method of attachment, transmitters can potentially affect the ability of cavity-nesting birds to use cavities. Our objective was to evaluate effects of transmitters on the behavior of and use of cavities by Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). Using backpack harnesses, we attached 2.1-g transmitter packages that averaged 3.1% of body weight (range = 2.5-3.6%) to Red-headed Woodpeckers. We observed both radio-tagged (N = 23) and nonradio-tagged (N = 28) woodpeckers and determined the percentage of time spent engaged in each of five behaviors: flight, foraging, perching, preening, and territorial behavior. We found no difference between the two groups in the percentage of time engaged in each behavior. In addition, we found that transmitters had no apparent effect on use of cavities for roosting by radio-tagged woodpeckers (N = 25). We conclude that backpack transmitters weighing less than 3.6% of body weight had no impact on either their behavior or their ability to use cavities.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Vukovich, Mark; Kilgo, John C. 2009. Effects of radio transmitters on the behavior of Red-headed Woodpeckers. J. Field Ornithol. 80(3):308-313.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.