The GPS tracker on wedgies gives us an overview
“Tracking technology can give us an idea of where they like to roost, if they like to fly long distances and help guide us on how to protect different habitats,” says Dr. Pay.
The researchers strapped the tracking devices between the powerful wings of the birds, often climbing huge trees to reach the chicks in their nests.
The small square boxes, which weigh just 65 grams and are solar powered, are held by soft Teflon straps in the middle of the bird’s back, with the weight distribution as close to their center of motion as possible. gravity.
Eagles fly without consuming much energy by relying on thermal soaring – using pockets of rising hot air to gain height. For example, an eagle called Ethan rose 600 meters above ground level in just eight minutes, gaining about two meters per second.
Data has shown that when young eagles roost or perform shorter flights, they love to spend time at the edge of native forests, where they encounter meadows or pastures.
On longer flights, they float on thermal air currents and their location is less specifically associated with certain habitats.
Tracking also allows researchers to study a behavior known as dispersal, where immature birds travel long distances across Tasmania after leaving their parents.
He revealed that the young birds stayed with their parents for much longer than expected, some for around a year. When they leave, they spend a few years flying around Tasmania until they settle down.
The researchers expected that about half of the 25 eagles would die in their first year after leaving their nest, but luckily all but two survived.
Dr. Pay now uses the same method with adult birds, to better understand the use of their habitat. Trackers will continue to transmit bird movements for up to five years.
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