Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

August 8, 2020

Great Egrets Released with GPS Trackers To Aid in Waterbird Research

 Great Egret released with a special GPS tracker and colored leg band

Before release on July 31, 2020, this orphaned Great Egret arrived in care dehydrated and emaciated. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

The recent release of Great Egrets raised by International Bird Rescue and outfitted with special Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers will aid in the research of this majestic waterbird species.

The GPS backpack was provided and fitted by our friends from Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) as part of a study of the movements and migrations by Great Egrets. ACR is tracking these birds’ movements to learn more about their interactions with wetland ecosystems to better inform their conservation efforts.

Capturing healthy egrets in the wild is extremely difficult, so ACR Director of Conservation Science, Nils Warnock, reached out to invite Bird Rescue to collaborate. Great Egrets getting released would be outfitted with trackers to help ACR expand its study population. A backpack is fitted onto a strong and healthy Great Egret and monitored for a couple of days prior to release to make sure that it won’t cause any issues for the bird.

Not only does this partnership allow us to aid in important habitat conservation research, it also gives us the opportunity to learn where our patients go and how they behave post-release. So far, two Great Egrets have been released from Bird Rescue with GPS transmitters as part of this study.

You can learn more about the project and see a map of the birds’ movements at https://www.egret.org/heron-egret-telemetry-project

Great Egret flies off with attached GPS that will aid in research. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

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