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Friday, December 19, 2014

Owl’s GPS More Than Just Ornithological Curiosity

The snowy owl “Delaware,” newly outfitted with a Teflon-ribbon backpack containing a GPS transmitter, solar cell and rechargeable battery, has been transmitting location data since she was released Dec. 11 at Assateague after recovering from a serious injury.

The owl underwent surgery to fuse bones in her wingtip, a novel treatment for an injury that could have led to a lifetime of captivity according to DNR veterinarians.

With rest and rehabilitation, she grew healthy enough for release, and may be transmitting data that would more than pay for the investment of treating her.

The transmitter will convey latitude and longitude, much like any GPS would, but will also register altitude — a measurement ornithologists don’t have much gathered hard data.


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