In March, the radio programme 'Vroege Vogels' ('Early Birds') broadcasted a show with a special on the Godwit, the Dutch national bird, from the meadow bird area Skork, Friesland. No other than Theunis Piersma, professor for migration bird ecology, was one of the specialists at the show.
He told that a few years ago the Godwit, called Amalia, along with some other birds, was equipped with a satellite transmitter and coincidentally returned to the Netherlands a day before the broadcast.
The lightweight satellite transmitter with an incorporated solar panel has a total weight of only 2 grams, which makes it possible to track individual birds in real time throughout the year on their journey from the north of the Netherlands, via Spain and Portugal, to West Africa. The measurements not only provide new insights into the breeding and behavior of the birds but also information about the changes in ecological conditions for these birds. It could also be stated that they give critical insights about the world.
Indicating towards the high research cost, Professor Piersma mentioned: 'I hope we will be able to continue equipping more Godwits with small satellites transmitter, as it is becoming difficult to find sponsors for this research.' This inspired a generous listener to support the cause. The donor, who would like to stay anonymous, contacted Professor Piersema and asked him about the project as well as the financial support he required.
Professor Piersma shared about the Godwits, the Sandpipers and his research that his teams carried out around the world. He spoke about the close collaboration with local researchers, his passion for the countryside, the importance for nature- inclusive agriculture, and also his hopes and fears.
The moving story about the research further convinced the donor to support Professor Piersma’s research through the Ubbo Emmius Fund of the University of Groningen, with a donation of 400.000 euro. Because of this donation, the team can equip more birds with the small satellite transmitter in the coming years, which in turn will help to further investigate the ecological environment of the birds.
The research team of Professor Piersma would like to extend their enormous gratitude. Also the donor is happy about the implementation of the donation.
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