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Where Do You Go, Little Warbler, When It Snows?


Cara J

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It was Christmas in late March for Erik Johnson and Jared Wolfe. The two researchers had just received news that a Prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) that they had fitted with a geolocator in June 2013 had just returned to Baton Rouge, La. after its fall migration. They stopped what they were doing and bolted over to the nest boxes where volunteer scientists had heard the bird’s song “sweet sweet sweet!” “I hadn’t had that feeling since Christmas when I was ten and wanted to see the presents under the tree,” said Wolfe, a wildlife ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and lead author of a recent study on the species published in the Journal of Field Ornithology. Soon after, they captured the little bright yellow bird — imagine the yellowest yellow, Johnson says, and make it twice as yellow — and retrieved the geolocator, a battery-powered data logger with light sensors that record sunrise and sunset daily. That data is then used to estimate the longitude and latitude of the birds. “We thought, ‘what were the odds that it would come back?’ And it did,” said Johnson, director of bird conservation at Audubon Louisiana and co-author [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/where-do-you-go-little-warbler-when-it-snows/

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