To monitor incubation conditions in nests of greater sandhill cranes, a radiotransmitting egg was built using six temperature sensors, a position sensor, and a light sensor. Sensor readings were received, along with time of observations, and stored in a computer. The egg was used to monitor incubation in nests of six pairs of cranes during 1987 and 1988. Ambient temperature was also measured. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to relate highest egg temperature, core egg temperature, and lowest egg temperature to ambient temperature, time since the egg was last turned, and time since the beginning of incubation. Ambient temperature had the greatest effect on egg temperature (P 0.0001), followed by the time since the beginning of incubation and time since the egg was last turned. Pair effect, the class variable in the ANCOVA. was also very significant (P < 0.0001). A nine-term Fourier series was used to estimate the average core egg temperature versus time of day and was found to fit the data well (r2 = 0.94). The Fourier series will be used to run a mechanical incubator to simulate natural incubation conditions for cranes.
Additional publication details
Remote monitoring of parental incubation conditions in the greater sandhill crane