Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canada goose project

As patronage slowly runs out for our Canadian scientific researchers, they are turning to alternative means of funding to conduct research, communicate scientific information and expertise, and to collaborate internationally with fellow scientists.

A group of highly connected individuals who by and large remain impervious to the spotlight have benevolently been backing research into the flight paths and wintering grounds of the Canada Geese who nest in southern Manitoba. The object was to study tightly knit family groups as they avoid the cold harsh reality of Canadian winters, and why they are increasingly being drawn to urban centres as a safe haven in their winter territories. The researchers were also interested in whether the 'crèches', family units who group together to cooperate in looking after all the clutches of goslings in small communities, also remain in close proximity in their southern habitats.

They used MiWi P2P proprietary wireless protocols designed by Microchip Technology that use small, low-power digital radios designed for low data transmission rates and short distance cost constrained networks. By netting the geese during their spring moult they secured these microchip transmitters with leg bands. They also secured a telemetry GPS device to one member of each family so it could be tracked during the semiannual migrations. Once a family unit established a residence in their winter abode, the researchers would travel to the area and install discrete receiving modules which could gather information from the close range MiWi transmitters.

 The benevolent group bankrolling this important study was enthusiastic in providing transport and ATV's to gain access to the sometimes remote locations where the geese wintered. They also provided much needed volunteers in the field with expertise in the handling of quads and 4x4's. As one researcher put it “These guys are amazing.” The issue of conflict of interest between scientists and a bunch of bikers arose at a local news conference held to inform residents about the activities occurring in their vicinity. The response was a humorous “What, for tracking geese? These guys don't need tracking devices to find a field with ten thousand geese for their hunting pleasure every fall. They're just in it for the fun and adventure.”

Our bewrought Prime Minister has his hands full. With so much on his agenda such as protecting us from overzealous scientists confusing our minds with misconstrued facts while at the same time reducing our deficit, it is little wonder that challenges arise in their implementation. The Supreme court of Canada has found him to be a smite short on constitutional smarts, for example. Another find which may have implications beyond his wildest dreams was one which a rancher in southern Manitoba made this spring. In the leg band on a Canada Goose who had succumbed by natural means on the flight back to his summer pond, there was found embedded with a glued on microchip a glistening diamond. It has been conjectured by some that a poor soul lost their wedding band diamond while attaching the leg band as it can be a fairly strenuous encounter with a stubborn goose. That is probably the least problematic conjecture. If only those pesky scientists would stay home and mind their own business.
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