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The original Twitter? Tiny electronic tags monitor birds' social networks
Date:9/20/2012

for example, they can look at initial results to see when there are few encounters happening, and turn the battery off during those times to conserve power.

Burt completed his doctorate at the UW in 2000, with a dissertation on birdsong communication and learning. He wished that there was a way to automatically monitor bird interactions in the wild, and in 2005 joined forces with Otis, an expert in small, lightweight, low-power electronics. Burt managed the project to develop the tags, with funding from the National Science Foundation, as a research scientist in Otis' group.

This fall they founded Encounternet LLC in Portland, Ore., where Burt now lives. He is working to add a GPS component to record the location of encounters, and to add an accelerometer and other sensors that could detect an animal's behavior.

"People are excited about this because for the first time, it allows them to study smaller animal interactions and social networks on an incredibly fine scale," Burt said. "Social networks are turning out to be key to understanding many animal behaviors. People say Encounternet is the only thing they can find that can collect that information."


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Contact: Hannah Hickey
hickeyh@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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