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Meet robots on a mission to help birds

aerial: Of or taking place in the air.

audio: Having to do with sound.

behavior: The way something, often a person or other organism, acts towards others, or conducts itself.

behavioral ecologist: A scientist who studies how animal behavior relates to where animals live.

biologist: A scientist involved in the study of living things.

biomimicry: The creation of new devices or techniques based on those seen in living organisms.

canopy: (in botany) The top layer of a tree — or forest — where the tallest branches overlap.

conservation: The act of preserving or protecting something. The focus of this work can range from art objects to endangered species and other aspects of the natural environment.

crow: (in biology) A type of large black bird with a complex social structure that perches in trees and is known for its boisterous call.

drone: A remote-controlled, pilotless aircraft or missile.

ecology:  A branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. A scientist who works in this field is called an ecologist.

endangered: An adjective used to describe species at risk of going extinct.

engineer: A person who uses science and math to solve problems. As a verb, to engineer means to design a device, material or process that will solve some problem or unmet need.

faux: Meaning false or fake. Faux fur, for instance, would not be made from animal products but from some manufactured fibers.

federal: Of or related to a country’s national government (not to any state or local government within that nation). For instance, the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health are both agencies of the U.S. federal government.

fiberglass: A material made of glass strands.

gull: A family of long-winged and relatively thick-bodied shoreline birds. Most are gray and white with webbed feet. They tend to be very vocal.

habitat: The area or natural environment in which an animal or plant normally lives, such as a desert, coral reef or freshwater lake. A habitat can be home to thousands of different species.

humidity: A measure of the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. (Air with a lot of water vapor in it is known as humid.)

lift: An upward force on an object. It may occur when an object (such as a balloon) is filled with a gas that weighs less than air; it can also result when a low-pressure area occurs above an object (such as an airplane wing).

marine: Having to do with the ocean world or environment.

mechanical: Having to do with the devices that move, including tools, engines and other machines (even, potentially, living machines); or something caused by the physical movement of another thing.

mentor: An individual who lends his or her experience to advise someone starting out in a field. In science, teachers or researchers often mentor students or younger scientists by helping them to refine their research questions. Mentors also can offer feedback on how young investigators prepare to conduct research or interpret their data.

model: A simulation of a real-world event (usually using a computer) that has been developed to predict one or more likely outcomes. Or an individual that is meant to display how something would work in or look on others.

navigate: To find one’s way through a landscape using visual cues, sensory information (like scents), magnetic information (like an internal compass) or other techniques.

niche: A small or narrow pocket that sets something apart, or perhaps offers a region of protection. (In ecology) The term for the role that an organism plays in its community.

predator: (adjective: predatory) A creature that preys on other animals for most or all of its food.

prey: (n.) Animal species eaten by others. (v.) To attack and eat another species.

rainforest: Dense forest rich in biodiversity found in tropical areas with consistent heavy rainfall.

range: The full extent or distribution of something. For instance, a plant or animal’s range is the area over which it naturally exists.

raptor: A predator, sometimes called a bird of prey.

recall: To remember.

robot: A machine that can sense its environment, process information and respond with specific actions. Some robots can act without any human input, while others are guided by a human. Someone who designs or builds robots is a roboticist.

role model: Someone whose skill, behavior and/or personality makes them an inspirational ideal, the type who inspires others to model themselves after this person.

sensor: A device that picks up information on physical or chemical conditions — such as temperature, barometric pressure, salinity, humidity, pH, light intensity or radiation — and stores or broadcasts that information. Scientists and engineers often rely on sensors to inform them of conditions that may change over time or that exist far from where a researcher can measure them directly. (in biology) The structure that an organism uses to sense attributes of its environment, such as heat, winds, chemicals, moisture, trauma or an attack by predators.

sloth: A slow moving, plant-eating mammal that lives in tropical rainforests in the Western Hemisphere. Most of these tree dwellers sleep all but four to nine hours a day.

social: (adj.) Relating to gatherings of people; a term for animals (or people) that prefer to exist in groups. (noun) A gathering of people, for instance those who belong to a club or other organization, for the purpose of enjoying each other’s company.

species: A group of similar organisms capable of producing offspring that can survive and reproduce.

tactic: An action or plan of action to accomplish a particular feat.

talon: The curved toenail-like claw on the foot of a bird, lizard or other predatory animal that uses these claws to snag prey and tear into its tissues.

technology: The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry — or the devices, processes and systems that result from those efforts.

tendon: A tissue in the body that connects muscle and bone.

ultraviolet: A portion of the light spectrum that is close to violet but invisible to the human eye.

unique: Something that is unlike anything else; the only one of its kind.

visible light: A type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that range between 380 nanometers (violet) and 740 nanometers (red). Visible light has wavelengths that are shorter than infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves but longer than ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma rays.

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