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Satellite Tracking

Why did animal X stop transmitting?

Tracking Common Tern Migration

A project of USFWS, BOEM. ARCI in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
169741 Common TernAdult2017-06-142017-09-23101
169742 Common TernAdult2017-06-142017-09-26104
169743 Common TernAdult2017-06-142018-03-21280
169744 Common TernAdult2017-06-142018-03-21280
169745 Common TernAdult2017-06-142018-02-26257

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Maine Coastal Islands NWR, in collaboration with USFWS R5 Migratory Bird Program, BOEM, and the Avian Research and Conservation Institute equipped five incubating common terns with 2 gram solar satellite tags. We used Teflon tape harnesses to attach the tags, and monitored each nest with GoPro cameras to document potential tagging effects. Productivity for the five tagged birds was similar to control nests, and tracking data showed the birds flying more than 70 km round trips to forage. Two of the tagged birds (both females) departed the nesting colony in early August, staged on Cape Cod for several days, and then flew directly to the north shore of South America. These two birds remain on the cost of French Guiana. The remaining three birds (all males) eventually made their way to Cape Cod where they staged for 4-6 weeks. Two of the terns eventually had close encounters with multiple hurricanes, apparently flying straight through (or over??) Hurricane Maria. These birds also flew to the north shore of South America. Three of the five tags continue to transmit data as of mid December.

Project Objectives:

1) Document foraging behavior of incubating and chick rearing common terns

2) Test the efficacy of using a Teflon tape harness to attach satellite tags to common terns

3) Document staging, migration, and wintering patterns of common terns

  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without explicit written consent.
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