Response to Nestling Throat Ligatures by Three Songbirds

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Authors:Robinson, GL, Conway, CJ, Kirkpatrick, C, LaRoche, DD
Journal:The Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume:122
Issue:4
Date Published:2010
ISBN Number:1559-4491
Keywords:Aimophila, Aimophila aberti, Emberizidae, Icteria, Icteria virens, Incertae Sedis, Kieneria, Kieneria aberti, Melospiza, Melospiza melodia, Melozone, Melozone aberti, Melozone alberti, Passerella, Passerella melodia, Pipilo, Pipilo aberti, Pyrgisoma, Pyrgisoma aberti, Zonotrichia, Zonotrichia melodia
Abstract:Abstract We attempted to collect diet samples using throat ligatures from nestlings of three songbird species in a riparian woodland in southeastern Arizona from May to August 2009. We had success with Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia), observed adult Yellow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens) reclaim food from nestlings, and discontinued the use of throat ligatures when we observed an adult Abert's Towhee (Pipilo aberti) remove two, 3?4-day-old ligatured nestlings from its nest. Previous studies have reported problems (e.g., aggression toward nestlings by adults) with throat ligatures, but we are the first to document removal (and subsequent nestling mortality) in response to this technique. We urge investigators to exercise caution when using throat ligatures on species for which evidence of the safety and efficacy of this method are lacking, especially when nestlings are small in size relative to adults.Abstract We attempted to collect diet samples using throat ligatures from nestlings of three songbird species in a riparian woodland in southeastern Arizona from May to August 2009. We had success with Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia), observed adult Yellow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens) reclaim food from nestlings, and discontinued the use of throat ligatures when we observed an adult Abert's Towhee (Pipilo aberti) remove two, 3?4-day-old ligatured nestlings from its nest. Previous studies have reported problems (e.g., aggression toward nestlings by adults) with throat ligatures, but we are the first to document removal (and subsequent nestling mortality) in response to this technique. We urge investigators to exercise caution when using throat ligatures on species for which evidence of the safety and efficacy of this method are lacking, especially when nestlings are small in size relative to adults.
URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1676/10-026.1
Short Title:The Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith