Teeny Phones for Tweety Birds

Tiny mobile phones for songbirds? Weird, yes. But after reading the article below, you too may see the logic in such a proposal…

Ornithologists and engineers at Oregon State University are planning to strap tiny mobile phones to songbirds and monitor the birds’ migration with unprecedented accuracy.

But the birds will not “phone home” like college kids calling from spring break destinations. Instead, the cellular devices will send simple codes to cell towers along migratory routes.

The devices attached to the birds will share unique identification numbers with cell towers as they pass within range. Network service providers will record the ID numbers, the towers contacted and the times when contact was made.

Scientists have tried other ways to track migratory birds, such as attaching 0.5-ounce bracelets to captured birds.

But finding the birds several weeks later on another continent has about a one- to five-in-a-million chance, said W. Doug Robinson, assistant professor in the OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. [Read the rest]