We've seen birds tasked with carrying around sensors in order to provide data about external happenings, but up until now, tracking birds' migration patterns from start to finish has been a tedious, if not impossible task. Gurus from York University in Toronto have apparently figured out the solution, and it all sounds much simpler than you might imagine. By equipping birds with minuscule "backpacks" -- which weigh less than a dime and use geolocators to collect all sorts of information about flight times, patterns, stopovers and speed -- scientists can get an accurate look at where the animals were and when they were there. In a recent test involving 34 birds, researchers were able to retrieve the packs from 7, and while that may not be a majority, biologist J. M. Stutchbury noted that this "was 7 more than anybody else." Right you are, Doc.

[Via New York Times, image courtesy of PaulNoll]

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Geolocator-equipped backpacks to track bird migrations