Some interesting news about the side-effects of attaching or implanting location transmitters on birds. This is from bird researchers at the University of Groningen, roughly translated from this article.
Grutto (2) by Alamagordo, Creative Commons on Flickr
Twelve female Black-tailed Godwits fitted with transmitters last May were unable to successfully breed this year. The birds, which are a threatened grassland species, did attempt to mate, but the transmitter worked inadvertently as a birth control device (IUD). The data was reported last week by Theunis Piersma of the University of Groningen in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper.
Scientists from the University implanted the transmitters, which are like small radios, inside fifteen female godwits. The purpose of the study was to learn more about the exact migration route of birds. The birds breed in Friesland, in the north part of the Netherlands, and migrate to southern Europe and Asia for the winter.
Although the study yielded a wealth of information about the migration habits of the birds, researchers were very disappointed with the inadvertent side effect it had on the birds’ lack of breeding success. One bird did lay eggs, but the eggs were deformed and did not hatch.
Via the work with the implanted godwits, the researchers noted that three of the birds flew more than 5,000 km non-stop, averaging 70 km per hour.