[Taza Schaming, Part 2: The Tools I Use] This is some of the technology that I use for my project. We have a radio, the GPS, and then my receiver and antenna setup. This is the radio that I actually put on the bird. I sewed these backpack harnesses by myself, and they’re made out of Teflon which is really strong material. They actually go on just like a backpack, like you’d wear a backpack to school, and these little radios have a nice long antennae on them. They emit a pulse every couple of seconds, so when they’re emitting a pulse if I’m listening for them I can hear a beep beep beep sound and I know I’m near whatever bird’s carrying this radio. I use this GPS constantly. Whenever I trap a bird I GPS the location. Whenever I’m actually radio tracking, each time I find a bird, and each time that bird moves to a different location I GPS wherever it is. The geographical data that I’m collecting is really important. I’m trying to understand better what habitats nutcrackers are using so that we can design appropriate management strategies to protect those habitats. This is a receiver and it’s connected with a cord to the antenna. With this receiver antenna setup I am able to actually track individual birds. I can program in 20 different frequencies and I can switch from frequency to frequency. When I decide I want to take one bird, say I want to track bird number 201, I will type in 201’s frequency and then I will actually be able to use this antenna to determine which direction the bird is, and then I will be able to follow the bird by using the antenna, and by changing the sensitivity on this receiver. Without this technology, I wouldn’t be able to track individual birds, therefore I wouldn’t really understand what birds needed in terms of habitat, and therefore I couldn’t, one couldn’t develop management strategies to help preserve the birds. And if it turns out that these birds are declining, which we anecdotally think they are, we really need to know what habitats are important to the birds so that we can design really good management strategies to actually protect the birds. [Produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the Crossing Boundaries Project]End of transcript
Taza Schaming, a Cornell graduate student, explains the tools she uses to track individual birds in her study of the impact of climate change on Clark’s Nutcrackers. After she has banded and placed radio tags on individual nutcrackers using hand sewn Teflon backpack straps, she uses a radio antenna to track them and keep tabs on their social lives and foraging behavior. Without these tools, she would not be able to be so nosy.