As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Bird 'backpacks' to uncover swift secrets

Last modified: 30 June 2016

A new project to find out where migrant birds forage in Northern Ireland has taken flight, thanks to a partnership between RSPB Northern Ireland, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Northern Ireland Swift Group.

In a first for conservation science in Northern Ireland, this summer dozens of swifts will be fitted with tiny GPS ‘backpacks’ in a bid to shed light on key feeding areas- something which has previously been impossible to monitor.

During June and July, experts will safely re-capture the swifts, some of which have been previously tagged as part of a BTO and NI Swift Group migration study, to fit them with newly-developed miniature tracking devices which weigh less than one gram.

Being used for the first time in Ireland, and building on work carried out by the BTO over the previous two summers, these devices will record the locations of the swifts at approximately hourly intervals with an accuracy of just a few metres, revealing the feeding behaviour of nesting swifts in unprecedented detail.

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