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Case Studies

MicroLite Solution – Monitoring Birds’ Nest Site Selection


“The user-friendly MicroLite device is a great solution for monitoring temperature and relative humidity in our research, because it allowed us to invest efforts in measurements of other parameters while this data was automatically collected by the MicroLite device. The loggers enabled us to accurately measure the environmental conditions and uncover the factors that influence the Pratincoles’ choice of nesting grounds.”

Ms. Liraz Cabra, M.Sc. student at Haifa University 

The aims of this study were to characterize the optimal habitat conditions for nesting, in order to assist conservation efforts in locating a suitable alternative habitat for the Collared Pratincole. Data loggers were placed to monitor the temperature and relative humidity parameters during this research.

Application:   Study of environmental conditions   

Organization:  Haifa University – The Department of Evolutionary & Environmental Biology    


Background:

The population decrease of the Collared Pratincole bird in a Middle Eastern country resulted in a project designed to halt this trend. The Collared Pratincole nests upon moist meadows and grasslands. These habitats are becoming scarce, having been replaced by cultivated fields near water, with low vegetation. Nesting in these cultivated areas actually places the birds in danger, due to pesticides used in the fields to eradicate insects, the birds’ primary source of food, as well as the threat from trucks and other vehicles operating in the area. There have been attempts to find safer nesting places, via dialogue with the farmers of these fields in addition to monitoring the nesting population. At the same time, designated areas were specifically treated to encourage nesting in order to attract the birds but these attempts have failed. The aims of this study were to characterize the optimal habitat conditions for nesting, in order to assist conservation efforts in locating a suitable alternative habitat for the Collared Pratincole.  


Method:

The Pratincoles were tracked daily from arrival until establishing a breeding colony. Selected nesting field's parameters were measured including temperature; relative humidity; food availability; presence of other bird species; vegetation cover; soil type; soil texture and characteristics of the agricultural landscape. All of the data was added as layers to GIS software for spatial analysis to uncover the factors that influence the birds’ choice of nesting grounds. Data loggers were placed to monitor the temperature and relative humidity parameters.

 


MicroLite Implementation:

Seven Fourtec MicroLite II Temperature and Humidity USB data loggers were used in this study. Six data loggers were placed throughout the agricultural land: Three units were placed alongside a nest in the area of the field where the nesting colony was established and three other units were placed in another part of the field that wasn’t chosen by the birds for nesting (experiment and control).

These six loggers measured the temperature and relative humidity in the air during the birds’ nesting period of approximately two months. An additional data logger was used as a portable logger to measure temperature and relative humidity in the designated area that was created for the birds but wasn’t actually used by them, and also in other fields where nesting occurred in previous years.

The MicroLite II data loggers monitored and recorded the temperature and relative humidity with a sampling rate of once every 10 minutes. At the end of the nesting period the loggers are collected from the field and connected to the PC for data download and comprehensive data analysis with the complimentary DataSuite software.


Measurable Results:

  • A robust yet compact logger suitable for outdoor monitoring in the field.
  • A four-digit LCD screen enables using the data logger as a standalone temperature and humidity meter.
  • A cost effective solution, perfectly suited to this research, providing maximum results with minimal resources.
 
 
 
 


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