Citizen Science
Great Egret Tracking in the NY/NJ Harbor

Texting while flying? No problem!

By Nellie Tsipoura, Susan Elbin and John Brzorad

Photos by Natalie GREGorio 




 A new era of technology has been added to the NJ Audubon/NYC Audubon Harbor Herons foraging surveys. For the past several years, dedicated Citizen Science volunteers have spent hundreds of hours collecting data on Harbor Heron foraging locations in NYC and NJ. Now two of our birds are part of a larger study being done by scientists at Lenoir-Rhyne University (Dr. John Brzorad) and Friends University (Dr. Alan Maccarone). 

On June 25-26, two adult great egrets were captured at Wolf’s Pond, Staten Island, and fitted with solar powered GPS/GSM transmitters. The two birds, Clarence and Edward, have been ‘adopted’  by the citizen scientists (Edward) and local classrooms on Staten Island (New Dorp HS and St. Clare’s School; Clare).


 Trapped. The black bin to the bird's right contains mummichogs (minnows) which drew him close enough to step on a trap. 




Covering the head keeps Edward calm 



Putting on the bling!




Happy Biologists



Ready to go!!!


 Off he goes with his bling on!!!


The birds send text messages of their location that are then displayed on maps at Movebank.org; https://www.movebank.org/ 

 Click here to see where Edward is!

This work was funded by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, NJ Meadowlands Trust, private donations to NJ Audubon, and the US Forest Service.