Geese are bugged for their flights

Scientists from Ducks Unlimited (DU) are putting a modern twist on the ancient ritual of fall migration.

A total of 22 Canada geese from Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland will make their annual journey this fall equipped with high-tech transmitters and tiny antennas. Their daily movements will be tracked through a complex relay of information, over a period of 18 months.

Dr. Bruce Batt, chief biologist at DU is directing the project together with Dr. Richard Malecki of the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University.

The biologists will use the collected data to track the movement of Atlantic Flyway Canada geese. They will attempt to learn more about where the geese go during migration, where they spend the winter and when they move from one location to the next.

"This is one of the last frontiers in goose biology. Even the most basic information about their numbers and where they breed is lacking. We need to know these fundamentals so we can refine our management," said Batt.

The high-tech transmitters, weighing 30 grams, are attached to the birds with a flexible Teflon harness. From that point on, the transmitter sends signals to space, which are then picked up by French Argos satellites that circle the earth every two hours. The data is then sent to a receiver on earth, which forwards the information via Internet to Dr. Malecki's research lab in New York.

You can follow the birds throughout fall, winter and spring by logging onto the Internet website of

For information, call Tildy La Farge at (901) 758-3859 or email at


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