As an accountant, I was not schooled to be a trendsetter; rather, my training leaned more to following the action, kind of like the cleanup crew after a teenager has gone wild with a credit card. So it was with real excitement that I watched scientific history unfolding with researchers from the Ellis Bird Farm and the University of Manitoba. Geolocator technology – originally used to track migrating elephant seals – is now small enough for songbirds. I observed Dr. Kevin C. Fraser attach the very first pea-sized locator to a male bluebird, carefully adjusting the backpack-like carrier so the bird could go about his daddy duties without noticing the hitchhiker.
Little is known about bluebird migration and these are the first mountain bluebirds to carry geolocators; hopefully the information revealed will help decrease bird mortality. Ellis Bird Farm attached geolocators to purple martins in 2012 and birds returning in 2013 showed that the largest members of the swallow family migrate over 21,000 kilometers – equivalent to half the circumference of the earth. The mountain bluebird’s trip won’t get as much press as Christopher Columbus’s, but the feat is just as impressive for a bird weighing as much as a chocolate bar!
We have been able to shine a light into the mysteries of migration because scientists have improved on an invention, making it light enough to be carried by the smallest of creatures. Like accountants, scientists don’t get a daily dose of excitement, but steady at the helm yields its own rewards. To see history unfold, watch my video at http://youtu.be/1p5-JsTFofs
This exciting geolocator technology is small enough to track songbirds. Find out more: Click to Tweet.
This improved invention now allows us to shine a light in the mysteries of migration. Learn more: Click to Tweet.
These are the first mountain bluebirds to carry geolocators thanks to the University of Manitoba. Click to Tweet.