The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is an international collaborative research network that uses a coordinated automated radio telemetry array to track the movement and behaviour of small flying animals. Motus is used to track birds, bats, and large insects affixed with digitally-encoded radio transmitters that broadcast signals several times each minute. These signals are detected by receiving stations that scan for signals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, depending on the site. When results from many stations are combined, the array can track animals across a diversity of landscapes covering thousands of kilometers.
Motus has its roots in the SensorGnome network which was founded and coordinated by Acadia University and other partners in northeast North America from 2012 and 2013 along with other. In 2014 a major infrastructure expansion was made possible with support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to Western University, The University of Guelph, Acadia University and Birds Canada. This expansion quickly gave rise to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. The system has grown steadily since that time and is well established across much of the Western Hemisphere and parts of Europe and Australia. See Motus By the Numbers for up to date stats.
The purpose of Motus is to facilitate landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. It is a program of Birds Canada in partnership with collaborating researchers and organizations.