At Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, we’re researching beach-nesting birds and the obstacles that they face. We are excited to add a brand new side to our research this yr: light-level geolocators.
The foremost monitoring websites, we’re targeted on for this mission are Matagorda Beach and Sargent Beach. The goal species are Wilson’s Plover and Least Tern. The Wilson’s Plover is a shorebird that nests within the gentle sand alongside the dunes, mudflats, and shelly areas with vegetation. The Least Tern is a water chicken that nests in giant teams primarily in flat open shelly areas. Both of those species are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and are thought of species of excessive concern due to habitat loss and disturbance.
For every species, we monitor for pairs, nests, and chicks. We have banded 21 Wilson’s Plover adults (13 Sargent Beach and eight Matagorda Beach) and 12 Wilson’s Plover chicks to this point. Twenty-one adults obtained some new bling in type of a light-level geolocator to assist track these birds over time.
There are many various strategies biologists use to assist track chicken species over time. Banding birds is without doubt one of the most typical methods; we connect a light-weight band to the chicken’s leg with a novel quantity mixture, let the chicken go, then look ahead to the banded chicken to be re-sighted. This is an easy methodology, but it surely depends on somebody recognizing it and reporting it, which frequently doesn’t occur.
Another monitoring methodology is the usage of nanotags, which ship out a sign that may be picked up utilizing a receiver. At Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, we use this methodology for our Loggerhead Shrike mission. This methodology is more practical and permits a greater manner to track a species in actual time utilizing telemetry gear.
For our analysis with the Wilson’s Plover, we’re utilizing light-level geolocators. We are hoping to discover out the place the Wilson’s Plover migrate for the winter. We already know the place they breed, so determining the place they winter will give us a greater understanding of the species as an entire. These geolocators are totally different from nanotags in that they don’t emit a sign. Instead, they measure gentle ranges.
The geolocator is connected on the again of the chicken like a backpack utilizing a harness that wraps across the legs and doesn’t damage or hinder the chicken’s motion. Each geolocator has a microchip to retailer information and a lightweight sensor that stands out. Based on the sunshine ranges over the course of the day, latitude and longitude may be decided, leading to a tough location. Latitude is calculated from day size from dawn to sundown. Solar midday (the purpose when the solar is highest within the sky) is totally different throughout the globe, and helps decide longitude.
This sort of geolocator is rather less costly than nanotags and have a tendency to last more since they don’t want as a lot battery to function. They are additionally extremely light-weight. But as a result of they don’t emit a sign or have a GPS, there is no such thing as a manner to track the chicken in actual time. We merely have to depend on the chicken coming again the next breeding season, after we can catch it and take away the backpack.
The geolocator then will get transferred again to the corporate that made them to obtain the information off of them. Then the information is analyzed utilizing a particular program. We is not going to know till subsequent breeding season if any of them come again, however we hope for one of the best.
On behalf of Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, thanks for studying and please bear in mind to fish, swim, and play 50 yards away from seaside nesting birds and their chicks.
Taylor Bennett graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science diploma in Biology concentrating in Marine Biology, and performs shorebird surveys alongside the higher Texas Coast. The GCBO is a non-profit group devoted to saving the birds and their habitats alongside all the Gulf Coast, and past into their Central and South America wintering grounds.