Please consider supporting an initiative from a student (Erich Eberts) from Loyola Marymount University to use thermal imaging in order to monitor and detect torpor use in nesting hummingbirds. This is a first for me, to be assisting in a crowd-sourcing approach to research, and I think it lends itself extremely well to student initiated research, but all the credit goes to the students Erich Eberts and Anusha Shankar for all their hard work at putting together this proposal.
The link to the fund raising campaign is here, on the Experiment.com website. The title of the proposal:
Using Thermal Imaging to Detect Torpor in Nesting Hummingbirds
Although I might not make it into the field with Erich, I will provide analytical support and assistance with the thermal image analysis. I have long been watching the hummingbirds that fly past my office window (see videos below) and have even seen them rearing their young outside my office window (in Canada), but Erich is interested in testing a very interesting question about whether and how much females engage in nightly torpor when they are actively incubating eggs and rearing young. If funded, he will have his own, portable thermal cameras to use in the field and hopefully capture not only stunning science videos, but also useful data on the extent to which torpor is used during incubation.
I wish I could loan him my thermal camera, but mine is heavily used and also off being serviced and calibrated. The bill for that is $2500, so I think the budget proposed for this project is very modest.