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Netguns: a technique for capturing Black-backed Woodpeckers

Lehman, Chad P.; Kesler, Dylan C.; Rota, Christopher T.; Rumble, Mark A.; Seckinger, Eric M.; Juntti, Thomas M.; Millspaugh, Joshua J. 2011. Netguns: a technique for capturing Black-backed Woodpeckers. Journal of Field Ornithology. 82(4): 430-435. doi: 10.1111/j.1557-9263.2011.00347.x.

Effective capture techniques are essential for studying bird populations, but commonly used techniques have proven ineffective for capturing Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) during the nonbreeding period. As a result, little is known about the winter ecology of Black-backed Woodpeckers. We used two netguns, one powered with a 0.308 cartridge and another with CO2 propellant, to capture 101 Blackbacked Woodpeckers (N = 75 initial captures and 26 recaptures) in the Black Hills of South Dakota from 2008 to 2011. Captures with the 0.308 netgun resulted in an impact mortality probability of 0.061 ± 0.034 (SE), whereas no impact mortalities were associated with the CO2 netgun. We also tracked birds for 72 h post-release, and determined a capture-related mortality rate of 0.102 ± 0.04 with the 0.308 netgun and 0.038 ± 0.027 with the CO2 netgun. With the CO2 netgun, we captured woodpeckers in 31 of 43 net deployments (72%), with an average of 7.2 ± 0.4 h of capture effort for each bird.Many unsuccessful attempts were caused by tree branches that prevented net deployment. Netguns powered by CO2 provide an effective capture technique that we recommend for studies of Black-backed Woodpeckers and possibly other species of birds that forage low on trees.

Keywords: black hills, capture success, capture technique, handling time, Picoides arcticus

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Netguns: a technique for capturing Black-backed Woodpeckers
Electronic Publish Date: December 20, 2011
Last Update:
December 20, 2011

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