Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tracking Birds from a plane!

This was an amazing experience! I can't believe that we track the birds from a plane! I found out that I have certain limitations... yes, I got a little sick while looking through binoculars on a bumpy dive. Still, it was awesome and I'd go again in a heartbeat.

We went out on Tuesday to try to track down some birds that might be scattered around eastern Wisconsin and north of the refuge. Our main priorities of this flight were to get a visual on the Quincy Bluff pair (we were hoping they were on a nest) and to train me at aerial tracking.

Boarded the plane around 1000.

Windway plane
 My trusty pilot, Tom, and my trusty boss, Anne, are long-time pros.

Anne took pictures, pointed out landmarks, and manned the "signal sheet" while I listened for birds. The antennas are fixed to both wings of the aircraft. I have the ability to listen to both antennas at once or switch between them so we can figure out which direction the bird is in relative to us.
First landmark: Devil's Lake (from the North). 
Potential site for next year's DAR release, cool stuff

Quincy Bluff: we could barely see the birds after 4 passes

Quincy Bluff again: the birds were just left of center; you can totally see them, right?
After diving a few times over Quincy Bluff, we decided it was best if we took a quick break (my stomach appreciated this).

At the end of the whole trip we flew back right past the Crane Foundation! Awesome!
ICF (Left side of the road)


  1. That looks so cool! :)

  2. Thanks, Kate! It was fun when I wasn't looking out binoculars :D