Friday, 7 August 2015

Cape Rockjumper release

Krista Oswald's research into the Cape Rockjumper temperature tolerance testing has been going remarkably well, all considered. There have been several days with no bird captures, but then an amazing team of assistants - Gavin, Alacia and Audrey caught 3 on one day. Unlike previous experiments this time we are also testing the low end of what Cape Rockjumpers can handle - it looks like sub zero temperatures are no problem for this species.

Yesterday some radio transmitters were delivered which will enable Krista to continue the behavioural aspects of her work. Some of these results have already been presented at the BOU conference of birds in space and time earlier this year. Basically, there is a tight link between physiology and behavior - birds basically no longer forage once temperatures go beyond 30 degrees.

In the meantime, yesterday and today we had some of Krista's compatriots from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University visit with her supervisor Ben Smit. This sequence of photos is of the release of the female with the first deployed radio tag. The release went smoothly - she was soon joined by other members of her family group.

Audrey adeptly releases the female Cape Rockjumper

Jumping to freedom

she can't believe she's back home! Where is everyone?

Her boyfriend welcomes her home (and shows off his ringless legs to the researchers).

Another female (sister? mother?) looks on. 

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