How scientists use birds to predict earthquakes

No one knows exactly why, but animals often behave unusually before the earthquake and other disasters. “Flocks of birds can lose their course or be active at an unusual time for them,” says Martin Wickelski, an ecologist at the Ornithology Institute. Max Planck in Germany and an employee of the National Geographic Society.

Wikelski leads the Russian-German project for satellite tracking of animal migration ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space). Scientists plan with volunteers to supply tiny electronic sensors to tens of thousands of birds, bats and other fauna that respond in advance to the approaching earthquake.

All data on their activity and movement will be received by the International Space Station, where special equipment will soon be installed. The authors of the project hope that their development will create a worldwide network for predicting natural disasters.

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