Throughout the Midwest and even up and down the Western Hemisphere, birds are flying around with “backpacks” on and it’s all thanks to Indiana University researchers who are looking to get a bird’s-eye view of our environment.
“We go out and catch these birds mostly in the spring using almost invisible nets that are specially made to catch birds,” says Alex Jahn, who is a migration patterns fellow at Indiana’s Environmental Resilience Institute. “And, when we have the bird in the hand, we attach GPS tracking devices to them, to understand their movements throughout the entire year. And these are just like a little tiny backpack. They weigh less than two grams, and they give us an idea of exactly what the bird is doing on a day-to-day basis. The bird doesn’t even notice it’s there, but it gives us very valuable data.”
Jahn and colleague Adam Fudickar, who is an adjunct professor of biology and a research scientist at the Environmental Resilience Institute, are attaching these “backpacks” to birds that fly within the state and along the Mississippi Flyway, a busy migratory corridor that runs through the skies above Indiana.
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