Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bird Transmitters

Today we did something different. We got some satellite transmitters sent to us to put on Black-footed Albatrosses. There's a website that tracks all kinds of animals around the Pacific and they want us to put 9 transmitters on the albatrosses. The website is http://www.toppcensus.org/ It's pretty cool because they track sharks, turtles, seals and lots of other things. Our birds won't show up quite yet since we only put one transmitter on so far. We'll put the others on as soon as a signal shows up on the satellite. It's really hard to find Black-foots right now since almost all of them have alread fledged, but there are probably a few dozen still around somewhere. In answer to the comment I got yesterday, the tiger sharks have been around but I haven't personally seen them yet. While the barge was here they saw a 15 foot one swimming around. The sharks will end up getting quite a few of the young birds who are just swimming and not flying. I'll try to go to the harbor in the early morning or evenings since that's when most of the sharks come into the harbor (also where I can get the best pictures). It's not the best time for swimming right now for 2 reasons, one is the dead birds and the other is the sharks. It'll only be another couple weeks before it's ok again.
Greg and John are taking some measurements on the bird.

The transmitter is pretty small and will fall off when the bird molts its feathers.

You can see the antenna as the bird thinks about leaving.

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