- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MAY TOWNSHIP, Minn. (AP) - Smithsonian scientists are using tiny backpacks to track migratory songbirds in Washington County.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (https://bit.ly/1uakfg4 ) two scientists with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C., are catching wood thrush and attaching tracking devices in backpack-like gadgets that go over their legs and sit on their backs. The project is part of a multi-state effort to study and help preserve the habitat of the declining bird population.

The backpacks weigh less than a dime each and have antenna to pick up GPS signals. Scientists plan to return next year to retrieve the devices from the birds and download recorded data.

The scientists plan to place backpacks on 25 wood thrush in Minnesota. They’ve tagged 14 birds so far.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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