Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kakariki Tracking

The other area of research currently being undertaken in the valley is tracking young kakariki to see where and why they are leaving the valley.

The aerial and receiver we use to track the birds

Ellen picking up a signal off  a track on Wrights Hil

It's around here somewhere!

I've joined up with Ellen and am helping her to find those birds that are leaving the valley during the day.  She has attached transmitters to ten birds, as time goes on more of them are starting to go further afield and as I have a car, I've become a rather useful helper!  So far, they tend to head out towards Wrights Hill, Johnson Hill in Karori and over to Otari Plant Museum.  Using the aerial and receiver, we can pick up a signal from a good few kilometers away, then its off to try and find it's exact location, whether that be by foot or by car.

And how does all of this link back to school science?  Patience and perseverance!  Like many things in science, the results don't just happen suddenly, you need  to wait, observe, discuss and collaborate with others so  that you can form a clear and accurate picture.  It's pointless rushing, you need to slow down and be sure of what you are doing, double check the signal.  And don't give up!  If you try and try again its quite likely you can pick up a new signal and we'll be off again.  With perseverance, Ellen can get to within just a few meters of the bird she has been tracking.  We've also been using lots of maths, I've been using a compass to take bearings and have been learning about using triangulation to help get a better idea of where a bird might be if we can't find it off aerial.
There's a real skill to tracking these birds and I'm determined to learn it!  I'm getting much quicker at striding up hills, scrambling down banks and holding my arm up in the air for what  feels like huge lengths of time!!  It's been great and I've really appreciated spending time with Ellen and learning all about what she is doing for her masters.

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