Photo © Keith Williams
Photo © Jeff Kozma

Let’s Take a #Selfie

We love how new technology is so rapidly adopted by bird watchers to further their passions. High-def security cameras now watch over nesting birds, remotely-controlled drones monitor seabird colonies from the air, and inexpensive adapters turn smartphones into high-powered cameras. All of these new toys help us monitor birds while keeping a safe distance, but the latest and greatest “accessory” is one that has really split public opinion.

It’s called the “selfie stick,” a socially-provocative telescoping pole that remotely triggers your cell phone to take a picture of you and your friends (a.k.a., a “selfie”). Got a nest that is just out of reach? Selfie stick to the rescue! Snap a photo of the nest so you can count the eggs or nestlings. Some models can extend up to 32′ (10 m) and most allow for adjusting the angle of the camera. The devices use Bluetooth technology, or your camera’s timer, and work with a wide variety of smartphone models.

We credit this idea to Jeff Kozma, who is researching Gray Flycatchers in Washington. Jeff shared his photos with our Home Tweet Home contest, so you can see for yourself how it works. NestWatchers often ask how to report nests that are too high to see into, and the compact, portable selfie stick is one tool that can potentially help with this problem—no more taking a ladder into the field! And if anyone judges you for owning one, just tell them, “It’s for research.”