back to article The eagle has handed.... scientists a serious text message bill after flying through Iran, Pakistan

MegaFon, the second largest mobile phone operator in Russia, has offered to pay the messaging charges accrued by a group of cell-strapped eagles after a crowdfunding campaign raised part of the funds. On Friday, Russia new site RIA Novosti said that several eagles fitted with cellular transmitters for a migration research …

  1. aberglas

    Global roaming charges are evil

    Nobody would mind paying 20% more, say. But 10,000%! My provider charges $1000 / gig. Needless to say I just turn it off.

    It is a pain when you travel through Europe. And the cheap burner sims you buy typically do not actually work across countries. So you need many.

    So, fancy that the eagle did not know about global roaming charges! They needed a multi-sim transmitter.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      Luckily, in the EU there are no roaming charges at all so you only need one burner SIM for the whole region.

      Text message charges are insanely high anyway. The billing is the only part that actually costs the telco anything.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: No EU roaming charges

        At the moment that is the case fo us in the UK. but for how long eh? I'm sure the Mobile Operators will be chomping at the bit to hike their roaming charges back to pre EU levels if not higher the day after we finally decide to leave the EU.

        Just remember the cause of those mega bills that will arrive when you come back from your hols next summer.

        The 'IT' issue with Vodafone last week were just trial runs. This time they got caught. Next time????

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: No EU roaming charges

          I'm sure the Mobile Operators will be chomping at the bit to hike their roaming charges back to pre EU levels if not higher the day after we finally decide to leave the EU.

          So far they've all said they won't, why do some people get so much pleasure from looking on the black side of everything? Seriously, if you found a silver lining you'd go looking for a cloud to put it in.

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            I'm sure the Mobile Operators will be chomping at the bit to hike their roaming charges back to pre EU levels if not higher the day after we finally decide to leave the EU.

            So far they've all said they won't, why do some people get so much pleasure from looking on the black side of everything? Seriously, if you found a silver lining you'd go looking for a cloud to put it in.

            He forgot to mention that the pound is going to collapse, so no one will be able to afford a holiday abroad, so it won't matter anyway. (Assuming our passports are accepted, of course.)

          2. Kevin Fairhurst

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            *so far* and until Brexit actually happens we don’t know what they will do, and they certainly don’t want to stop people subscribing with off putting statements...

            But when, post Brexit, all the EU providers start passing on massive bills to the UK networks, because they’re no longer beholden to the “cross EU” services rules, how long do you think until those charges start getting passed along to the customers?

          3. Kane Silver badge

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            "So far they've all said they won't, why do some people get so much pleasure from looking on the black side of everything? Seriously, if you found a silver lining you'd go looking for a cloud to put it in."

            Oh, you sweet summer child!

          4. sawatts
            Facepalm

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            Sure, these companies work for the benefit of their customers, not their shareholders.

            The EU legislation must have only been a formality as they didn't take advantage of the roamers before did they?

          5. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            "why do some people get so much pleasure from looking on the black side of everything?"

            Because having dealt with mobile operators, people trust them about as far as they could fling their phone (I'd guess maybe eight metres?).

            That's not an awful lot of trust. And little of it deserved.

            1. Baldrickk Silver badge

              Re: No EU roaming charges

              It's further than I could throw any of our politicians...

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: No EU roaming charges

                It's further than I could throw any of our politicians.

                I'm sure that a trebuchet would help you with that. I'm sure that there are several at various historical visitor attractions who won't notice you sneaking in with a large wriggling sack over your back..

          6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: No EU roaming charges

            So far they've all said they won't

            And you trust that their word will get in the way of them returning to the insane profitability that high message charges engendered?

            You trust way too easily.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No EU roaming charges

          "I'm sure the Mobile Operators will be chomping at the bit to hike their roaming charges back to pre EU levels if not higher the day after we finally decide to leave the EU."

          Sorry, but that's bollocks. Some operators are already falling over themselves to offer free roaming to a range of countries both inside and outside the EU - even allowing you to use your inclusive UK minutes/megabytes, rather than paying the EU-limited roaming rates.

          Those who want to keep their customers will continue to do so.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No EU roaming charges

          The "sunlit uplands" were only ever intended for companies and hedge funds, not the general populace.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        It depends. Some mobile operators in Europe take the 'EU-wide' literally... If you travel to southern Germany or south-eastern France (or northern Italy for that matter) and then happen to roam onto a Swiss network, you might find yourself with horrendous charges (as a colleague from Spain discovered, his mobile operator do, rightly, not consider Switzerland to be part of the EU). But, like you say, the British operators tend to take the approach of "EU-wide = much of contiguous continental Europe" where some blobs, mostly in the Balkans, are excluded. That kind of pragmatic approach is always useful. :-)

      3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Luckily, in the EU there are no roaming charges at all so you only need one burner SIM for the whole region.

        <COUGH!>BREXIT</COUGH!>

        1. TheGhostDeejay

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          @sammmigueelbeer

          Oh do fuck off, there's a good chap

          Cheers… Ishy

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Text message charges are insanely high anyway

        Which is why sensible people go for SIM-only deals that have unlimited free txts..

        (I can remember when txts started being used and the mobile companies realised that they could make lots of money over something that was part of the GSM spec and, hitherto, only been used for engineering messaging.)

    2. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      > cheap burner sims you buy typically do

      I don't think you're talking about EU, I'm using pre-paid card as a EU citizen and have no problems with roaming or roaming charges, including for data. Are you sure you didn't have to simply enable the roaming support on the card?

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      "Nobody would mind paying 20% more, say. But 10,000%! My provider charges $1000 / gig. Needless to say I just turn it off."

      For me text messages are free. So if they charge 1p on roaming, that's infinity percent more.

    4. Ogi
      Thumb Up

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      > So, fancy that the eagle did not know about global roaming charges! They needed a multi-sim transmitter.

      It might be easier (and cheaper) to just add a bit of logic to the GPS tracking devices, to only send SMS when within certain GPS co-ordinates.

      I mean, they have all they need already: Map of all the regions, along with knowledge of which regions have high roaming costs. The trackers already have the GPS based location hardware, the cell transceiver, and a CPU to control it all.

      Just add some logic to check the GPS location against a whitelist of regions with acceptable roaming costs before sending a SMS. If the GPS location puts the tracker outside of the whitelist, have it hold off sending any text messages until it reaches an acceptable region for costs.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Hindsight is 20/20 though... it does sound like this was something that was never considered.

        1. Ogi

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          I am aware, my post was more thinking of a way to prevent this happening in future.

          You can't pre-plan every eventually in life, and this was one thing they didn't take into account happening until now. I presume the next version of the tracker will be even more refined to avoid these scenarios.

          It is nice that they didn't have to pay the costs in the end though, a nice ending.

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Or even have the bird-based kit receive SMS messages so it can be sent 'shut up for a month' commands.

      3. Crypto Monad

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        No need for GPS geo-fencing.

        A GSM terminal knows the ID of the network operator it's connected to (MCC/MNC, a 5-digit number) - so you just whitelist the operators that you want to use with this SIM.

      4. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Problem with geofencing is that on these sorts of projects, some birds will die. You want to get the data back (knowing mortality "hotspots" can be useful) so if bird dies in an expensive area with strict geofencing the useful data would never be sent.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          Well in that case, you set a maximum "quiet period" after which it'll send the data regardless.

      5. jmch Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        They just need to ask the eagles to turn off roaming as soon as they leave Russia

      6. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        You're then employing the sort of person who'll sit there at meetings and ask "but what if?"

        If you want to cover every conceivable base, you need all kinds of mitigation procedures hanging off the poor bird, but you also need really productive meetings at the early stages of the project where all of the possible failure modes can be bashed out, considered, and worked around if it's possible to do so.

        That means dealing with that pain in the arse (we all know one and sometimes are one) who keeps going "but what if?" way past the point where everybody wants to just get on with the damn job or go home. And that person costs money (by the look of things more than they had the budget for).

        They got blindsided by something they didn't expect. It happens. Nobody likes it when it happens, but it is simply incredibly difficult to catch every single failure mode. Apollo 1, Columbia, TSB migration, Boeing 737-MAX... In all of these cases you can look at them after the event and point to the "obvious" flaw, but each one cost a lot more than these roaming charges.

        At least this one's worth a chuckle and nobody got hurt.

    5. Irongut

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      > It is a pain when you travel through Europe

      There are no roaming charges in Europe, even to the UK. So in what way did you experience pain?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Perhaps (s)he has a US SIM?

    6. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      "My provider charges $1000 / gig"

      Nope. Never heard of that sort of charge at all, and I use O2 who are famous for charging extortionate fees. Perhaps you meant $10 per gig?

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        Until about a year ago I had indeed a (legacy) subscription, from the times before mobile data became a thing, that would charge me the equivalent of £8 per one megabyte of data. 10MB were included, all above was at the stated rate.

        For anyone wondering why I had kept this so long: its was far cheaper than anything newer for what I used it for, which, obviously, wasn't for data.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        >Nope. Never heard of that sort of charge at all, and I use O2 who are famous for charging extortionate fees. Perhaps you meant $10 per gig?

        Three.co.uk...

        On PAYG in the UK and selected countries its 10GBP per GB.

        However, roam outside of the selected countries:

        Iran - Not available

        Kazakhstan/Pakistan - 6GBP per MB (PAYG/PAYM)

        So that's 6000GBP per gig...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          Depending on the plan, I've seen data overage charges of $1/MB, without roaming.

          There are reasons network data is turned off on my phone.

      3. Crypto Monad

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        "My provider charges $1000 / gig"

        Nope. Never heard of that sort of charge at all, and I use O2 who are famous for charging extortionate fees. Perhaps you meant $10 per gig?

        Ha ha.

        If you use your mobile phone in various third world countries - including Canada - Three still charges £6 per *megabyte* for data roaming - that is £6,000 per gigabyte. (Or £6,144, depending on how you define a gig)

        But in the "Go Roam" (formerly "Feel at home") countries, including USA, roaming is free - it just comes out of your UK inclusive data allowance.

        You have to be extremely careful about where you turn Data Roaming on and off!

      4. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        No no @macjules... (s)he's not wrong. Try Vodafone UK for £1.80 per MB/day in certain destinations. That's £1,800/GB. Yep. You read that right. Nearly TWO GRAND for a GIG. Make sure you disable mobile data before watching that downloaded episode or two of GBBO on More4 on your phone or iPad...

    7. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Global roaming charges are evil

      This is only the case for those who come from outside the EU, in particular the US and Canada, where you are nickeled and dimed for everything short of switching your phone on. The horror stories I've heard of colleagues from the great continent to the west of us are numerous. That said, some African countries are just as bad, and yes, this is why dual-SIM phones effectively became popular in Asia. Keep your standard SIM in the phone, pop a cheap local SIM in for your visit to another country. That Apple and others only woke up and smelled the coffee as late as they did is no surprise, really.

      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Global roaming charges are evil

        On holiday in the summer, we went to the Greek island of Lesvos. As it's in Greece, which is part of the EU, roaming is free. Except when you drive around the northern coast of Lesvos, which is quite close to the mainland of Turkey, and your phone connects to a Turkish network.

        We were driving for 20 minutes, my phone got a text which I didn't read as I was driving. When we stopped a few minutes later, I saw it said "welcome to Turkey, data is £3 a megabyte".

        I immediately switched off data roaming, but when I got home I found I'd been charged £2.97 for whatever my phone was doing in those few minutes.

        Luckily it wasn't more...

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          Indeed. And this is why the UK networks struck a deal with the Irish ones where this is also prevalent... Ireland effectively became part of the domestic area so you could roam to an Irish network and not get charged an arm and a leg. And it's why the EU directive for roaming charges exists.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Global roaming charges are evil

          and your phone connects to a Turkish network

          A similar thing happens on Jersey - on the south side of the island you sometimes get connected to SFR (or whichever provider has a roaming agreement with your provider).

          Which (in the days before the EU roaming agreements) meant I got charged about £5 for a 30-second phone call to my wife (who was at the bottom of the castle tower, on UK Orange, and I was at the top, on a French network..).

  2. OssianScotland Silver badge

    They should have used RFC 2549

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I believe RFC 2549 is incompatible with raptors: too great a risk of packet loss via predation.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        In fact you could say that the eagles would hack into and disrupt an RFC2549 network. Typical Russian avian aggression.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Bloody Raptors. Very hard to get the monitoring collars on though. Just ask Jeff Goldblum.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Linux

    SMS

    "RIA Novosti said that MegaFon, in addition to paying birds' bill, has also agreed to develop a special rate for avian messaging."

    Special Migration Service

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    Iridium

    A pity that Iridium can't be miniaturized enough to use on the birds instead; that would avoid this particular problem. Although not cheap, it's still not that exorbitant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iridium

      "A pity that Iridium can't be miniaturized enough to use on the birds instead; that would avoid this particular problem. Although not cheap, it's still not that exorbitant."

      Really?

      Looking at the plans, account initialization, and so on, it looks like Iridium costs about $1.40 to $1,80 per minute with the lower costs assigned for the most expensive plans, which is also what you pay for a single SMS message (1 message = 1 minute is the quoted messaging rate).

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Should have used '90s era Inmarsat

        It would have been rather jolly to watch a trained eagle patiently get out an attache case and a compass, align to the requisite Clarke-orbit satellite and send a voice message for a few quid.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    because scammers have gotten wind of the funding appeal

    I should stop reading news :(

  6. Paul Herber Silver badge

    what a journey!

    I know where they were going. Morrrrrdorrrrr!

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: what a journey!

      One does not simply fly into Mordor!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what a journey!

        If one is Gwalior one does.

        I often wondered why Gandalf didn't send those infuriatingly twee Hobbits off with a fake ring, and while the Nazgul were chasing them Gwalior didn't simply take the ring and drop it in Mount Doom. Perhaps Gandalf went to the wrong military school and failed to understand the strategic and tactical significance of the air arm in warfare against supernatural enemies.

        Same with Harry Potter - the bad guys would never have been able to monitor and control a multiple source attack from different directions, and while they were trying, hit them with a daisycutter.

        Nope, no fun at parties.

        1. CliveS
          Coat

          Re: what a journey!

          Gwalior is a city in Madhya Pradesh, India, and thus extremely unlikely to fly in to Mordor to rescue Frodo and Sam. Not to be confused with Gwaihir, lord of the eagles of Middle Earth and descendant of Thorondor, mightiest of all birds of the First Age of Middle Earth.

          As for simply flying in to Mordor with the Ring, there's a good reason why that was never an option. The Great Eagles, serve Manwë, Lord of the Valar. After the War of Wrath in Morgoth (Sauron's former boss) was overthrown, a large chunk of Middle Earth, Beleriand, was totally trashed leaving only the Blue Mountains at the extreme west of Middle Earth. The destruction was so great that the Valar decided that any future intervention would be indirect, and that salvation for Middle Earth would have to come from its own people. The Istari (of whom Gandalf and Saruman were members) were Maiar (lesser forms of "angel) were sent to Middle Earth to inspire and encourage, but not to act directly as leaders. And the Great Eagles flying the Ringbearer to Mount Doom would be direct involvement by the Valar and thus verboten under their own rules.

          Mine's the one with the entirety of Tolkien's legendarium in the extremely large pockets

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: what a journey!

            I apologise for the lack of OCD detail in my post, sadly I find Tolkien's mythology tedious almost beyond belief. If that's what Oxford does for you I'm very glad I went to Fen Poly.

            1. defiler Silver badge

              Re: what a journey!

              To be honest, I find the stories enjoyable, but not the writing.

              Kind of like the opposite to Dan Brown, where the writing is well-paced and enjoyable, but the stories are utter pap.

              That's why the Lord of the Rings movies were good (albeit long), but The Da Vinci Code was unwatchable.

              (No, I didn't bother past The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Had a leaf through The Silmarillion at school, shuddered and walked away.)

              1. baud Bronze badge

                Re: what a journey!

                The Children of Hurin is short and mostly readable, but also depressing as hell.

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: what a journey!

                Silmarillion at school, shuddered and walked away

                You missed a real treat. *Very* information-dense and (for someone bought up with a religious background) really, really understandable.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: what a journey!

            entirety of Tolkien's legendarium in the extremely large pockets

            Top Tolkien boffinry! I bow in salute!

            Agoreg vae.

            (I have all the directly-authored Tolkien stuff - I read LOTR in the late 1970's (age 12) and they have formed my preferred reading material ever since. For some reason, I've never got on the the stuff done by his son)

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: what a journey!

          I'd always assumed that Sauron had reasonably effective anti-air, and so the eagles would be taken down in short order.

          Once his power was gone that wouldn't be a problem anymore...

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: what a journey!

            If that was the case, why didn't the Black Riders have air support? From what I remember, they pretty much were the entirety of Sauron's air arm.

            Once you get past the first stages of WW1 level war, a whole lot of plots start to fall apart. Plus from what I remember, Tolkien was basically at Angle-Saxon level technology, though without their reliance on sea power.

            1. MJB7 Silver badge

              Re: what a journey!

              I'd always assumed that Sauron had reasonably effective anti-air,

              From what I remember, [the Black Riders] pretty much were the entirety of Sauron's air arm

              There is no contradiction between those two statements you know. The eagles couldn't get in until the Nazgûl had been taken out.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: what a journey!

        One does not simply fly into Mordor!

        No - these were flying *out* of Mordor..

    2. sbt Silver badge
      Coat

      Morrrrrdorrrrr!

      Sounds more like Kevin Bridges describing a collection of crows.

  7. Danny 2 Silver badge

    My Favourite Birds

    1. Crows

    2. Corncrakes

    3. Pigeons

    4. Sea Eagles

    5. Buzzards

    6. Flamingos

    7. Magpies

    8. Peregrine Falcons

    9. Curlews

    10. Parrots

    I have boring anecdotes about all of these except one, guess which one? But if you guess wrong then I'll tell the anecdote. To the Anonymous Crow who said they were no fun at parties, I'll throw us a party.

    Well done to MegaFon for footing the bill. If I ever become a whistleblower and roam to Russia then I'll use them to phone home.

    My mother said the saddest thing the other day. "Look at all the crows. I'd like to feed them but I don't want to get in trouble."

    We don't have Russian freedoms in the UK, we are only allowed to feed cute birds - yer sparrows and yer gold finches. Raptors get poisoned by grouse keepers, corvids are shot and nailed to gates.

    Ye gods, I am going to stop now, I'm on the wrong forum, I have more bird stories than IT stories. I was about to list my top ten hate list of birds. I won't, but it starts with grouse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Favourite Birds

      Danny2, apart from wanting to add red kites, herons and kingfishers to your list, I'd just like to point out that you are allowed to encourage raptors to enter your garden and the RSPB will tell you how if you ask nicely. There's a sparrowhawk around out way that is quite cautious but got a pigeon in our garden while we were on holiday, and I didn't mind clearing up after it one bit.

      Gamekeepers...it's their employers should be shot and nailed to their electric gates.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: My Favourite Birds

        Thankin' you! I saw a peregrine falcon dive bomb a wee bird in the garden, a sparrow judging by the feathers. It was like a bolt of lightning, and it demolished it, no body found, just feathers. However the fearless local crows chased the falcon away.

        It is worth bearing in mind that birds aren't bird brained. They can recognise human faces and remember when we are nice or nasty to them - and they pass that information on.

        I had two 'pet' pigeons as a child, they'd fly down to feed off my hand, seed that my uncle gave me. And my cat wouldn't bother them, the birds remember cats too.

        My parents memory is going, has been for yonks. They forgot my uncle had a pigeon loft - a doo cot - and raced pigeons. I had to phone a cousin to correct them when they doubted me.

        My mum asked my cousin recently what happened to my uncle's pigeons when he died.

        "Nothing. We got rid of the doo cot, but they kept coming back anyway. You just have to wait until they die off."

        I think that is how my parents feel about me. They've given my bedroom to my nephew and are just waiting for me to die off.

        I fully agree with your grouse comments. I don't hate the birds, I hate the people who grow them and pheasants just to shoot them. Scotland has a serious infestation of upper-class blood-sports land-owners.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Favourite Birds

      Something has to clean up the roadkill.

      Thank you corvids.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: My Favourite Birds

        I was driving a country road behind another car, and I could see there was a line of pheasants crossing the road so I braked assuming he'd brake. Mother pheasant followed by six,well, I don't know the word for a baby pheasant. He accelerated and mowed then all down.

        I was horrified and got out my car to beat him up. He said, "What? Do you want some of them?" as he was gathering them up.

        That just stymied me. To my eternal shame I didn't just run him down and eat him. In my defence I was a vegan at the time. A cowardly vegan, not a hardcore vegan.

        I was braver and more decisive when I was younger

        At school I knew these two guys who said they'd thrown a cat off a block of flats, so I beat them up. I then told every heavy weight fighter in my school what they'd done, and they also beat them up.

        It's not just little old women who love animals and hate abuse.

        1. CliveS

          Re: My Favourite Birds

          "I was horrified and got out my car to beat him up. He said, "What? Do you want some of them?" as he was gathering them up."

          I seem to recall that it is illegal to eat roadkill unless you can prove that you didn't kill it. Not sure what the punishment would be, and how you'd provide proof, though perhaps dashcam footage could help with the latter.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My Favourite Birds

            I understood from my youth in a house surrounded by forests full of pheasant that it's specifically illegal to take road kill game birds unless you can show you didn't kill it. If you kill and take a pheasant it counts as poaching. If you run over a squirrel, go for it.

            1. Wicked Witch

              Re: My Favourite Birds

              So long as it is a grey squirrel, since red squirrels are protected as endangered animals.

            2. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: My Favourite Birds

              A weird loophole there. Have a buddy following you take it and all is well. "No Constable, I didn't run it over, he did"

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: My Favourite Birds

          "What? Do you want some of them?" as he was gathering them up

          And thus broke the law. You are (legally) allowed to take any road-kill that you find *provided* that you didn't kill them.

          One of my brothers found a freshly-killed deer on the road, put it in the back of his Landy and butchered it when he got home. The venison sausages were nice but he should have used less garlic..

          It's not just little old women who love animals and hate abuse

          Indeed. not. I'm an avowed pacifist but bullies picking on smaller and weaker things comes pretty close to me forgetting my principles. Out of our current 9 pets, 8 of them are rescues. Not all of them have been mistreated but enough have been to make me see red. And I'll never adopt from the RSPCA - not until they fundamentally change from being a political organisation that does animal rescue on the side to a proper rescue organisation.

    3. jmch Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: My Favourite Birds

      So you're sparing us the grouse about grouse?

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: My Favourite Birds

      Parrots down at number 10? If he was still alive my dear ol' Budgie would be glaring at you now.

      Oy!

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: My Favourite Birds

      we are only allowed to feed cute birds

      Tell that to all the magpies and jays that feed off our fruit trees - we deliberately leave fruit on the trees for them. And, unlike the wood pidgeons, they don't tear the leaves off to get at the fruit..

      Yes, we also put out food for the passerines and tits but corvids gotta eat too..

      (And my taste runs more to corvids than any other birds. Especially the ones that wind up the cats by playing chicken with them.. One of our previous cats managed to catch a magpie that was doing that to him but our current lot haven't managed it yet.)

  8. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    So what have we learned from this research?

    Roaming fees are absolutely ridiculous. I can see the cost of text messages via roaming would go up 50%, to pay for the roaming provider's network. But thousands of percent? That's just some foreign cellphone provider gouging people who happen to come from outside the country.

  9. CrysTalK

    Straight line route

    Stared at the map and was impressed by that straight route from iran-pakistan border up to central russia.

    wonder if thats just a software bug or this eagle knows crab angles to compensate for crosswinds.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Straight line route

      I imagine navigating in the air comes pretty naturally to migratory birds.

  10. Zack Mollusc

    Fake news!

    Nothing in this article makes any sense. Eagles have been migrating for hundreds of years, why would they need to use GPS and why , when 'eagle-eyed' is a byword for keen vision, would they miss the fine print and get hit by roaming charges?

  11. NanoMeter

    Eagles spying in Iran?

    At least the eagles did not get arrested in Iran for spying.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Eagles spying in Iran?

      Yeah but they'll never be allowed into the USA now.

  12. Blackjack

    Will they ever learn?

    This is not the first time using SMS as trackers has ended horribly wrong, what's so wrong with using GPS instead?

    1. Jan 0

      Re: Will they ever learn?

      >what's so wrong with using GPS instead?

      You have to recapture the birds when they return, to recover the data, so you don't learn anything about the ones that failed to return or weren't caught..

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Will they ever learn?

      That's not how GPS works... They WERE using GPS. But GPS works one way, it tells you where you are with some clever math from timing signals received from space. You have to get that location data to the researcher somehow. And SMS is the easiest way to do that since it's one of the only options for a compact global low-power comms network available.

      1. Blackjack

        Re: Will they ever learn?

        There was already a case were the SMS chips were stolen and the researchers ended with a huge bill.

        How many GPS trackers could you afford with all this money wasted on roaming anyway?

  13. Gra4662

    I blame Buzby

    I blame Buzby for encouraging birds to use their phones more.....

    Shit, have just seen when those ads were around, that makes me well old

    1. A K Stiles
      Coat

      Re: I blame Buzby

      Before Maureen Lipman, if that helps you feel even older...

      Mine's the one with the 'ology' certificate in the pocket.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    "but assumed that before embarking on a migration, young eagles, making pre-migratory migrations, would certainly get in touch in Kazakhstan or in Russia, and would send all the accumulated messages inexpensively!"

    So, the problem was that the kids didn't stop to tell 'em where they were going before they went out? Who could have seen that coming?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      put a tracker in their backpack.

      Oh, wait...

  15. bpfh Silver badge
    Linux

    I’ll just leave this here

    https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2549

  16. Flywheel Silver badge
    Joke

    So, "just" SMS then?

    Are we sure that these birds have only been sending TXTs and not a few Mb of video from the GoPro 4K cameras that were coincidentally strapped to them? After all, those are some interesting regions to certain sectors of the international bird watching community...

  17. Boufin

    Just as well eagles don't Tweet!

  18. j.bourne

    Someone already mentioned an SMS switch - but better suited would have been a system to that would request the device to send data. First is a 'where are you, and what network are you connected to?' if the response is somewhere cheap then 'Send data', if not then wait a period (hour/day/week?) and ask for location again.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Great idea, but the PIC on this project were bird-brains, not software engineers.

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