Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Effectiveness of abdominally implanted satellite transmitters to identify common loon migration routes, staging areas, and wintering range
Kenow, K. P., Meyer, M. W., Reaman, P. S., Evers, D. C., Douglas, D. C., and Hines, J., 2000, Effectiveness of abdominally implanted satellite transmitters to identify common loon migration routes, staging areas, and wintering range, McIntyre, J. W., and Evers, D. C., eds., Loons: history and new findings, Proceedings of a Symposium from the 1997 Meeting, American Ornithologists' Union, p. 69-77.
Most of the United States Common Loon (Gavia immer) population nests on lakes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan where state resource management agencies have developed research and habitat protection programs. Research in these states has focused on monitoring loon population trends and investigating limiting factors during breeding. Additional life history information concerning seasonal patterns of movement and habitat selection are needed to develop regional and national Common Loon conservation strategies. This includes identification of important migration routes, staging areas, and location and assessment of habitat requirements on the wintering grounds. Recent advances in transmitter attachment techniques have allowed biologists to successfully monitor waterfowl movements using new technology that employs miniaturized satellite transmitters configured for intra-abdominal implants. We implanted satellite transmitters in the abdominal cavities of three breeding Common Loons in 1996 and assessed the effects of the technique on behavior of the birds and evaluated transmitter performance. Behavioral observations indicated that time activity budgets of radiomarked birds were negatively impacted. Transmitter performance was poor and few transmissions were received by ARGOS receivers. These results indicate that the intra-abdominal transmitter configuration evaluated in this study was not appropriate for Common Loons.
Common Loon (Gavia immer), population trends, transmitter attachment, abdominally implanted, satellite transmitters, ARGOS receivers