It can be very difficult to understand an animals motives and decisions, unless you can see, hear and think, among many other things, the way it does. Tremblay et al. (2014) attached video cameras to Cape gannets in order to enhance their interpretation of the decisions these birds make when foraging. This allows them to see what the bird can when foraging, and to more accurately understand what its movements are based on. Cape gannets form alliances with other animals such as dolphins and other birds when hunting, and so it was expected that their movements would be influenced by the presence of these animals. The study found the majority of study birds showed “systematic movement adjustments in relation to other foragers”. They found that other predators were very important in determining Cape gannets’ movement patterns. Boats were also often used as cues for presence of fish, more often than dolphins, but this may be because boats are more readily visible than dolphins.
The following footage is unrelated to the study by Tremblay et al. (2014) but demonstrates the use of cameras attached to Gannets. It was produced by RSPB and The University of Exeter.
Tremblay, Y. Thiebault, A. Mullers, R. Pistorius, P. 2014. Bird-borne video-cameras show that seabird movement patterns relate to previously unrevealed proximate environment, not prey. PLoS ONE. 9(2): e88424.