We evaluated plasticine-filled leg bands via recapture and band recovery information from 7,172 day-old wood ducks (Aix sponsa) double-marked (plasticine band and a web tag) in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri in 1993-98. These bands performed relatively well, with highest retention rates achieved in Missouri 1997-98 (98.6%) and Mississippi 1996-97 (97.3%). As part of an international project, we also conducted a study to test the null hypothesis of no difference in survival rates between 2 cohorts of ducklings marked with iii plasticine-filled bands, and (2) web tags. Data from 2,745 double-marked, newly hatched ducklings of 6 species and 117 subsequent recaptures or recoveries in the United States and Latvia were used in 4 different tests: none provided any evidence (P greater than or equal to 0.11) that ducklings marked with plasticine-filled leg bands exhibited greater mortality than those with web tags. We encourage extending use of this technique to other species of ducks, mergansers, and coots, because these leg bands have high retention rates, are easily detected by hunters, and permit additional inferences about posthatch movements, natal dispersal, neonate survival, and true recruitment. The banding technique may be applicable in studies of most precocial bird species if a universal filling material is developed.
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