Blue-Footed Booby Study Conducted with MadgeTech Data Loggers

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The small volcanic island of Isla Isabel is located just 15 miles off the coast of Mexico and is home to a wide variety of seabirds. A study utilizing MadgeTech EggTemp data loggers is in progress, with intent to protect one of the island's most iconic inhabitants, the species of Blue-footed Boobies.

A Blue-footed booby with both a real egg and a MadgeTech EggTemp data logger

Since booby eggs are similar in size and colour to chicken eggs, we eventually decided to go with more reliable, ready-to-use poultry data loggers.

Last year, the Ecology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) carried out a study on the current decrease in population in regards to the heightened divorce rate among these historically monogamous creatures. This study found that when the blue-footed boobies were together for longer, they hatched more eggs and ultimately produced more fledglings, regardless of age and reproductive experience.

The theory put forth by ornithologists is that the longer the pair is together, the more the pair becomes coordinated in their ability to incubate the eggs, giving the offspring a better chance of survival. Creating these ideal thermal conditions requires complete coordination between the birds and continually improves with time.

To test the theory, the Ecology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) deployed MadgeTech EggTemp data loggers to monitor the temperature of the eggs during incubation.

"Since booby eggs are similar in size and colour to chicken eggs, we eventually decided to go with more reliable, ready-to-use poultry data loggers. Blue-footed boobies incubate their eggs using their characteristic webbed feet, either by spreading their webs over the clutch or by keeping it on top of their webs," explains Oscar Sánchez Macouzet, of UNAM. In order to trick the birds into thinking they were real eggs, they were covered in dirt to be properly disguised as their avian counterparts. The birds were tricked and treated the loggers as real eggs, even having one stolen by a predator Heermann's gull.

Although the final results have not been published yet, the team of researchers were excited about the outcome of the study and impressed with the durability of the EggTemp data loggers. The extreme conditions including harsh humidity, dirt, and even an atypical storm.

Check back for a link to the final report and to learn more about the incubation of the Blue-footed Boobies. For more pictures of the study, click here.

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Margo Bowie / Marketing
MadgeTech, Inc.
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