Rick Keup, who walks for us on Fripp Island in South Carolina made a very unusual find this month. A Black Skimmer in multiple pieces washed up on his beach, and the pieces included a banded leg, and a satellite tracking transmitter that had once been attached to the bird via a harness. Scientists use these satellite trackers to learn about an individual bird’s migration patterns, and even day to day foraging locations or favored night-time roosts. Seabirds are often tagged with the devices when they arrive at breeding islands to nest. The devices can be removed the following year when the bird returns to the colony. The tags are, not surprisingly, quite expensive, and scientists can afford to place them on only a small subset of the birds they study, or even band. So the odds of finding of a satellite tagged bird seem lower than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. It appears that Rick has done just that.
When we get details on this bird (once the band is reported) we will let you know the history of the bird, when it was tagged, and perhaps even be able to share with you a map of where the bird traveled while wearing the device.
This find is a SEANET first, and a very cool one. Thanks Rick!
Your SEANET blogger will likely be taking a Thanksgiving hiatus for the remainder of the week, and I wish you all a Happy Holiday, and hope you enjoy a dead bird of an altogether different sort this Thursday.