Boats, planes, and drones, oh my! Tracking Marbled Murrelets is no small feat. Researchers employ novel technology in capturing and montiroring this secretive species throughout the breeding season.
Research Vessel (R/v)
The Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project has been fortunate to partner with the OSU College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences to use the R/V Pacific Storm in combination with zodiac boats for night captures of Marbled Murrelets.
Dedicated research technicians monitor the Oregon coast for tagged murrelets. Both manual scans and automated receivers are utilized in locating the birds on the coast and inland.
Aerial Telemetry (Planes)
A combination of a Cessna and Twin Commander plane, mounted with antennas, search for tagged birds from the skies. The coastline of Oregon, Washington, and California are monitored for tagged murrelets from the plane.
Specially designed Axis surveillance cameras are installed on an opposing tree in full view of the nest. Cameras are installed using rope based techniques to ascend into the canopy. Researchers are able to monitor all nest activity 24 hours a day.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
Researchers are currently investigating the potential for using drone technology in nest searching. UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), mounted with a FLIR thermal infrared camera to look for the heat signature of the bird sitting on the nest.
Satellite tags are currently in development for use on the research project. These tags would provide a real time GPS location for the murrelets.