Radio-tracking small aerial foraging birds:a preliminary study of the Sand martin  Riparia riparia


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A method is described for attaching radio-tags to small aerial feeding birds, illustrated with data from three Sand martins (Riparia riparta). The radio transmitters had no measurable effects on the subjects. Foraging range, and roost sites were recorded for a pair rearing chicks, which had a similar nest visit rate as a control pair in a neighbouring nest. The birds often foraged close to water, and the male used a larger area than the female. The pair roosted in agricultural crops several Kilometres from their nest, while the third bird (a mate guarding male) was found roosting in the burrow that it defended during the day. Some future applications of radio-tracking lO small aerial foraging birds are discussed.