Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What exactly is a Rhino-Cam?

"Rhino-Cam" is a video camera head attached to a 3-meter long stiff rubber cable, which plugs into a battery pack worn about the waist. Another cord comes out of the battery pack and connects to a visor with goggles which, when worn on the head, show a clear black-and-white image of anything the camera is pointed at.

Biologist Russ Bradley, ready to "Cam-it!"

Every five days we push the camera head of this expensive piece of field equipment through long, windy dirt tunnels made by nesting Rhinoceros Auklets. With the camera, we are able to collect data on egg laying, chick hatching, and chick growth. Because we do not handle or touch the birds in any way, the camera method of monitoring nesting behavior is less obtrusive. It also provides valuable information on the timing differences between birds that lay eggs and hatch chicks in natural sites versus birds that use man made "nest boxes.".

Caroline Poli scopes out a burrow (above).
Rhinoceros Auklet (below left). View of auklet as seen in the burrow-cam (below right).

In theory, it’s very easy to just thread the camera down a burrow, see an image in the visor of an auklet on its egg, and back the camera out in the direction it came. In reality, Rhino-Cam is a sweaty, dirty business where only patience and just the right flip of the cord produces success. Burrows frequently have numerous branching tunnels, turn too sharply for the camera to follow or have a hump near the back that the camera can’t jump. Once the camera has been pushed, twisted and turned through the burrow until it "sees" a Rhino sitting on an egg or hits the very last empty chamber, it must come out again. (It is rumored that certain supervisors have gotten the camera stuck in a particularly long burrow for 45 minutes or more)
While operating the camera can be frustrating, it is extremely rewarding to locate a breeding auklet at the end of a tunnel. Sometimes the birds just glare at you, but other times they bite the camera. Arboreal Salamanders, Cave Crickets, Burrowing Owl and very young Western Gull chicks also frequent the burrows. When you turn the camera on, you can never be sure exactly what you will come face to face with.

A cartoon by 2006 Rhino-Cam operator Meghan Riley. (actual burrow shown)


Slitherine Shines said...

The cam looks cool. I am planning to use it to study snakes. Please let me know the manufacturer.

Thank you.

Dr. Krishna

Unknown said...

Nhiều chị em thắc mắc mang thai ăn nghệ có được không vì nghệ có tính nóng có thể ảnh hưởng tới thai nhi, bà bầu nên tiêm phòng khi nào là điều cần thiết nhất trong thời gian mang thai của người mẹ, bà bầu bị sôi bụng có sao không vì có nhiều lý do và nó có thể ảnh hưởng đến thai nhi, bà bầu có nên ăn quả na không trong thời gian thai kỳ, vì na là một trái có tính ấm tốt cho sức khỏe, bà bầu có nên ăn dứa không vì dứa có chứa nhiều chất dinh dưỡng tốt cho cơ thể nhưng bà bầu ăn được hay không mới là vấn đề.