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What are Light-level Geolocators?
What are the pros and cons of using light-level geolocators?
Because they are lightweight and have a long battery life, light-level geolocators are a great option for scientists who study the long-distance movements of migratory birds. And, in many cases, light-level geolocators may be the only option for studying the movements of small migratory bird species. Other options are often too heavy, or the batteries do not last long enough. Because light-level geolocators cost less than $200, they are also cost effective, meaning they are a low price for how well they work.
Even though light-level geolocators have a lot of pros, they also have some cons. For example, the cost for one device is low, but because only one in five birds with tags is recaptured, the total cost of the study can be much higher. That means scientists spend money on devices that they will never be able to collect information from. Also, the location accuracy of these devices is not exact. This means that scientists can only get a general idea of where a tagged bird traveled. For example, researchers could learn that a bird spends its winters in southern Florida, but would not be able to pinpoint the exact city or town. Finally, because birds spend a lot of time under the shade of the tree canopy, it can be difficult to determine what the sunrise and sunset times were at the bird’s location.