Where Bateleurs Dare
A cool breeze catches the nylon fabric stretched over the 9 foot frame and lifts the kite skyward. This particular kite strains under the additional extra ounces of a FujiFilm FinePix XP80 camera mounted to a picavet rig attached to the kite string. The specialized payload contains a programmed intervalometer which will trigger the shutter every 15 seconds. As the kite is guided around the landscape, it will capture images of the distribution of various plants over the heterogeneous savannah. Drones aren’t allowed here, but we managed special permission to trial kite aerial photography. Coupled with direct observations of feeding giraffes on the same landscape, this birds-eye view can be used to inform our understanding of how giraffes make foraging decisions in heterogeneous browsing landscapes. The distribution of large browsing herbivores is influenced by the distribution of woody vegetation which is influenced by soil nutrients which is influence by distribution and abundance of arthropods, which are in turn somewhat influenced by the distribution of browsing herbivores. Sometimes a different perspective can offer new insights into the processes that give rise to emergent patterns in nature.