Night Parrot captured and videoed

To: 'Stephen Ambrose' <>, 'birding-aus' <>
Subject: Night Parrot captured and videoed
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 05:18:27 +0000
Stephen, can you tell from the articles what type of tracker they used? I 
believe they range from the GPS type that can transmit coordinates, GPS 
trackers that must be recovered to get the data, down to the type that only 
allows them to tell which direction the bird is in, which would obviously give 
much less precision.

Does the use of the word "transmitter" imply the last type?

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Ambrose 
> Sent: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 9:58 AM
> To: 'Charles Hunter'; 'SeanDooley'; Peter Shute; 'Tony
> Palliser'; 'david taylor'; 'Murray Lord'; 'birding-aus'
> Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot captured and videoed
> Hi Charles,
> Yes, radio-transmitters do eventually fall off birds, but
> usually researchers try to recapture birds before the battery
> runs flat so that the transmitter can be retrieved and used
> again. There are two main ways that radio-transmitters are
> carried by small or smallish birds - they are either glued to
> a gauze patch that has been glued with Vetbond (a glue used
> by vets for sealing small animal wounds or incisions) to the
> base of clipped feathers on the upper back or carried as a
> harness as a backpack. The harnesses are usually designed so
> that the straps break or snap shortly after the life of the
> transmitter battery has expired, thus freeing the harness
> from the bird. Glued transmitters also tend to fall off the
> bird after the same time interval. The main limiting factor
> is the weight of the transmitter and battery pack.  The
> general rule of thumb is that a bird shouldn't carry anything
> that is more than 5% of its body weight.  Technology in
> recent years has made these packs smaller and lighter, so
> they are being used on increasingly smaller bird species.  In
> the 1990s we put radio-transmitters on Spinifexbirds on
> Barrow Island in WA, which at the time, was a species at the
> lower end of the weight limit that could carry
> transmitter-battery packs, but I've heard of smaller birds
> carrying transmitters since then. I suspect Steve Murphy will
> be experiencing similar challenges to what we faced when we
> used transmitters on the Spinifexbirds since both species
> inhabit dense Spinifex clumps.  We found that the length of
> the transmitter's antenna had to be relatively short and
> running parallel to the bird's back to prevent it snagging on
> spinifex branches.  If the antenna snags on a spinifex clump
> it is pulled off the bird, rather than the bird being trapped.
> Kind regards,
> Stephen
> Stephen Ambrose
> Ryde NSW
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus
>  On Behalf Of
> Charles Hunter
> Sent: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 7:59 AM
> To: SeanDooley; 'Peter Shute'; 'Tony Palliser'; 'david
> taylor'; 'Murray Lord'; 'birding-aus'
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot captured and videoed
> Sean, do radio transmitters naturally fall off? I understand
> from the 7.30 Report last night (10.08.2015) that the small
> battery lasts 21 days.
> Keen to know if the birds (perhaps inconveniently) "hop"
> around with a wire for several months. Cheers,Charles
>       From: SeanDooley <>
>  To: 'Peter Shute' <>; 'Tony Palliser'
> <>; 'david taylor'
> <>; 'Murray Lord'
> <>; 'birding-aus' <>
>  Sent: Monday, 10 August 2015, 23:28
>  Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot captured and videoed
> Hi Peter and all who have posted on this topic.
> Just to let you know, Dr Steve Murphy is writing a piece for
> the upcoming September issue of Australian Birdlife outlining
> the progress of much of the research that has been going on
> at the site of John Young's initial discovery.
> Without wanting to pre-empt Steve's article, the draft that I
> have seen has some pretty impressive results. Being able to
> attach the radio transmitter, (even for the few weeks it was
> operational) has enabled the researchers to probably learn as
> much about the ecology and behaviour of Night Parrots as we
> had learnt in the previous 150 years.
> As to the 50-250 population quoted, I suspect that comes from
> the Recovery Team estimates of the entire population. Steve's
> article will tell us that there are multiple birds at the
> site but nowhere near 50 for that location.
> And to Paul Dodd, I have to confess that on an interview I
> did with ABC News
> 24 today, I think I may have used the phrase "hordes of
> birdwatchers" who would want to see these birds! While
> personally I think the threat of birders adversely impacting
> Night Parrots while trying to twitch them is probably pretty
> low- certainly far less of a risk than that posed by wildlife
> smugglers- I still believe it is wise to keep the location
> secret for as long as possible. We can't afford to place
> these precious birds in jeopardy and we still don't know
> enough about them to be able to safely say they could
> withstand even a few birders searching for them in their home
> territories.
> And no, I am not one of the lucky ones to have been out to
> the site. Nor do I have the faintest idea where it is, aside
> from somewhere in Queensland!
> Cheers, Sean
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus
>  On Behalf Of Peter Shute
> Sent: Monday, 10 August 2015 11:51 AM
> To: 'Tony Palliser'; 'david taylor'; 'Murray Lord'; 'birding-aus'
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot captured and videoed
> It's not clear whether they're referring to the local
> population or the national population. Surely there couldn't
> be even 50 locally, but a population as low as 250 nationally
> isn't good news, let alone 50.
> Peter Shute
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Birding-Aus
> >  On Behalf Of Tony
> > Palliser
> > Sent: Monday, 10 August 2015 10:49 AM
> > To: 'david taylor'; 'Murray Lord'; 'birding-aus'
> > Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Night Parrot captured and videoed
> >
> >
> > When reading through the article the following sentence
> really caught
> > my eye " Dr Murphy hopes the next round of netting will attract new
> > members of the population which could be made up of
> anywhere between
> > 50 and 250 birds. He is looking at new technology to track
> the birds
> > via Bluetooth".
> > I am baffled as to how the numbers are calculated - are
> there really
> > that many there now?  Certainly sounds most encouraging indeed.
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