Can Talons Be Used for Texting?

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A steppe eagle with an SMS tracker attached. (I. Karyakin/Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network)

Text Messages Sent by Roaming Eagles Bankrupt Scientific Study

by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com

When a team of Russian researchers set out to track endangered steppe eagles using a device that sends the birds’ locations via text messages, they knew they would occasionally lose track of the birds when they flew into regions with little or no cellular coverage. Going off the grid isn’t a huge deal; usually when that happens, the messages are sent once the eagles flew back into range, which works great as long as they stay in network. With a solid cellular plan, the study should have been cost effective.

But what they didn’t plan for was Min, a globetrotting steppe eagle whose taste for adventure turned into a big international texting habit.

The Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network team had equipped 13 steppe eagles with SMS text-based tracking devices. Four times a day, the devices would send the coordinates of the eagles so researchers could figure out where they spend their time. However, the birds often spend most of the summer breeding season in regions with little or no cellular coverage, mostly in Kazakhstan. Once they move on, the device sends dozens—or sometimes hundreds—of backlogged tracking messages all at once.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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