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Birdcalls, phone calls

October 11, 2005|Scott Doggett

PRIMORDIAL cries won't be the only calls made by birds if researchers at Oregon State University have their way.

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, the scientists plan to create timer-activated miniature cellphones and attach them to songbirds in hopes of determining the birds' migratory routes.

"We can't address management issues until we know what these songbirds do and where they go," says W. Douglas Robinson, an avian ecologist at OSU.

The research is important, scientists say, because songbird populations in general are declining. About half of the world's 9,200 bird species are songbirds.

To date, researchers have had little success tracking individual birds across long distances. OSU scientists hope to create a working prototype by early 2007.


-- Scott Doggett

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