Performance of encounternet tags: Field tests of miniaturized proximity loggers for use on small birds

  • Levin I
  • Zonana D
  • Burt J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Proximity logging is a new tool for understanding social behavior as it allows for accurate quantification of social networks. We report results from field calibration and deployment tests of miniaturized proximity tags (Encounternet), digital transceivers that log encounters between tagged individuals. We examined radio signal behavior in relation to tag attachment (tag, tag on bird, tag on saline-filled balloon) to understand how radio signal strength is affected by the tag mounting technique used for calibration tests. We investigated inter-tag and inter-receiver station variability, and in each calibration test we accounted for the effects of antennae orientation. Additionally, we used data from a live deployment on breeding barn swallows (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) to analyze the quality of the logs, including reciprocal agreement in dyadic logs. We evaluated the impact (in terms of mass changes) of tag attachment on the birds. We were able to statistically distinguish between RSSI values associated with different close-proximity (

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