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Conservation Tools: 'Very Pistols,' Underwater Paper, Amphibious Vehicles And Other Cool Gadgets Used By The Nature Conservancy Scientists (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 11/02/10 09:21 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

By The Nature Conservancy's Madeline Breen and James Miller:

From peeper scopes to duct tape -- learn more about the cool tools Nature Conservancy scientists use to solve conservation issues. The list may surprise you!

Peeper Scopes
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Home to the northernmost population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, Virginia’s Piney Grove Preserve is a popular place to find our first cool tool — the cleverly named “peeper scope.”

Equipped with a small camera and light source on the end, this 50-foot-tall telescopic fiberglass pole can “peep” into a red-cockaded woodpecker’s nesting cavity, while scientists watch the action via a monitor on solid ground.

The peeper scope can quickly assess the condition of a tree cavity and spot any uninvited guests — like the intrusive southern flying squirrel — that may try and take advantage of the woodpecker’s hard work.

Scientists at Piney Grove perform bird bandings to keep track of the population and to restore this rare bird. During the breeding season, frequent monitoring helps determine when eggs are laid and hatched. The scope also helps determine precisely when to band the little chick, which is critical due to the small 5-10 day window to perform bandings for this endangered species.
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Filed by Travis Donovan  |