By Jim Kanak
August 20, 2014 12:29 PM
WELLS, Maine — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is participating in a groundbreaking study of shorebird migration patterns, using cutting-edge technology to track the birds and record their data.
The technology includes lightweight radio transmitters, known as nano tags attached to shorebirds. The tags transmit signals picked up by a network of radio towers that span the Northeast coast of the United States and into Canada. Two of the towers are in the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells.
Kate O’Brien, a USFWS wildlife biologist, is leading the project in Wells. She said the technology is what makes this project different.
“Less than 5 percent of (traditionally) banded birds are ever (re)caught,” O’Brien said. “That’s why nano tagging is good. In terms of cost, they’re not that expensive. The science is moving so quickly. It’s fascinating what people can learn about birds.”