Great Basin Naturalist


Thirty-seven Chukars (Alectoris chukar), fitted with conventional poncho-type radio transmitters, were released on Antelope Island in Utah's Great Salt Lake. Twenty-seven removed their radios, averaging three days after release. The remaining 10 died from predation (average 15 days). Twenty-two Chukars with pleated and six with harness ponchos were then released. Five of the pleated ponchos were removed (average four days), and 17 resulted in mortality (average two days). All six harness poncho-equipped birds were dead the following day. A consequential laboratory study comparing various attachment methods (conventional, pleated, harness, and "irreversible" flange poncho vs. bellystrap and wingstrap backpack) favored the wingstrap backpack. The effectiveness of 30 conventional ponchos and 30 wingstrap backpacks was compared on game farm Chukars. Twenty-nine removed their ponchos within one day. One remained attached throughout the 30-day trial. All of the wingstrap backpacks remained attached with no apparent problems.