Thursday, August 16, 2007

Researchers to increase penguin tracking

University of Washington scientists will choose six adult penguins from rehabilitation reserves in northern Argentina next week to tag with satellite tracking devices. These devices will allow the scientists to follow those penguins’ migration patterns for the rest of the year.

The tracking devices, described as “little black boxes with an antenna,” attach to feathers in a specific place on the bird’s lower back and will allow the scientists to follow the penguins’ route during the second half of their yearly migration.

Because the devices usually stay on penguins for only three months, researchers have previously been unable to track the second half of the birds’ six-month migration.

In order to fill this gap in the research, scientists will tag birds on land at rehabilitation centers and track them as they rejoin their colonies to complete the yearly migration.

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