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Capture efficiency and injury rates of band-tailed pigeons using whoosh nets

May 10, 2018

Catching ground feeding birds has typically been accomplished through small, walk-in funnel-style traps. This approach is limited because it requires a bird to find its way into the trap, is biased toward less wary birds, and does not allow targeted trapping of individual birds. As part of a large study on Band-tailed Pigeons (Patagioenas fasciata) in New Mexico, we needed a trapping method that would allow more control over the number of birds we could trap at one time, when a trap was deployed, and target trapping of specific individuals. We adopted a relatively novel trapping technique used primarily for shorebirds, whoosh nets, to trap Band-tailed Pigeons at 3 different sites where birds were being fed by local landowners. During 2013–2015, whoosh nets were used to trap 702 Band-tailed Pigeons at 3 different locations in New Mexico. We captured 12.54 ± 8.19 pigeons per shot over 56 capture events across 3 locations (range: 2–39). Some superficial injuries occurred using this technique and typically involved damage to the primary and secondary wing coverts. In 2013, 24% of captured birds had an injury of this nature, but after modifying the net speed, injury rates in 2014 and 2015 dropped to 8% and 7%, respectively. Recaptured previously injured birds showed new feather growth within 2 weeks and showed no signs of injury after 4 weeks. Whoosh nets proved to be a highly effective solution for trapping large numbers of pigeons at baited sites. These systems are easily transported, quickly deployed, and easily adapted to a variety of site conditions. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Capture efficiency and injury rates of band-tailed pigeons using whoosh nets
DOI 10.1676/16-069.1
Authors Christopher L. Coxen, Daniel P. Collins, Scott A. Carleton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Series Number
Index ID 70196913
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle

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