Motus in the News

Learn more about the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, a coordinated hemispheric tracking system for migratory flying animals!

2019-07-07 - Teller Wildlife: The Lewis's woodpecker holds a unique niche amongst Bitterroot woodpeckers : Ravalli Republic

Named after Meriwether Lewis, on his famous westward journey, the Lewis’s woodpecker holds a unique niche among other Bitterroot woodpeckers. While woodpeckers typically use their strong neck and lingual muscles to expose insects from trees, the Lewis’s woodpecker makes short flights from an arboreal vantage point to capture flying insects.

2019-06-25 - Wildlife tracking towers erected to monitor southern Manitoba shorebirds : Sarnia Observer

Some of Canada’s most amazing travelers pass right through southwest Manitoba

2019-06-23 - Tracking Little Red’s return to the skies of Reading : Reading Eagle

The peregrine falcon has been fitted to a nanotag to help track her movements

2019-04-16 - New Partners to Advance Small Animal Science : Thomas Industry Update

Cellular Tracking Technologies of Cape May, NJ and Bird Studies Canada (BSC) of Port Rowan, ON, announce an inter-operating partnership that will allow CTTR LifeTags™ to be detected by the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. CTT LifeTag is a breakthrough in the scientific research of wildlife because it is incredibly small, lightweight, solar powered, and has no battery. The combination of these features means biologists are able to study smaller animals with potentially unlimited tracking device life. The CTT PowerTag™ is the battery powered version for animals that get little sun exposure.

2018-12-22 - Rusty Blackbird detected in Connecticut makes it Connecticut Audubon #6 Bird of the Year. : Milford Mirror

Number six is the rusty blackbird that flew over Deer Pond Farm in Sherman at 2:15 a.m. on Nov. 8. Andersen said it was the first bird detected by the Connecticut Audubon Society’s new Motus Wildlife Tracking System receiver. These bird tracking efforts “might well revolutionize bird research,” Andersen said.

2018-11-30 - Widening of Motus network a reccommendation of Connecicut Audubon Migrating birds thrive in cities, Connecticut Audubon reports : New Haven Register

Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation for Connecticut Audubon, said that traditional banding of migrating birds to identify their takeoff and landing places is giving way to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System , which uses “highly miniaturized radio transmitters” so small they can even be attached to butterflies.

2018-11-30 - Widening of Motus network a reccommendation of Connecicut Audubon : Milford Mirror

Report: “In Cities and Suburbs: A Fresh Look at How Birds Are Surviving in Connecticut.” The report’s recommendations include passing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to redirect federal funds to states for conservation work; expanding a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Program in which local partners maintain habitat in cities; and increasing the use of the Motus Wildlife Tracking System to help researchers follow when and where migratory birds travel.

2018-11-30 - Migrating birds thrive in cities, Connecticut Audubon reports Migrating birds thrive in cities, Connecticut Audubon reports : New Haven Register

Right in the middle of America’s largest city, birds were refueling at rates similar to and in some cases higher than” parks in Westchester County

2018-10-11 - Migration Revealed: Researchers unlock secrets to small migrating species : The Fredrick News-Post

A collaboration between local bird scientists might be the only situation during which building fences can actually bring people closer together. Known as the Northeast Motus Collaboration, the group of ornithologists is constructing “fence lines,” which are networks of communication towers designed to detect the unique digital fingerprints of nanotags attached to backs of songbirds, bats and pollinators. Nanotags are the future of bird tracking and are already lifting the veil on the least-understood migrations.

2018-10-11 - Maryland Awarded Grant to Track Wildlife with Nanotags : Southern Maryland News Net

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Willistown Conservation Trust, Pennsylvania Game Commission and neighboring states, received funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to dramatically expand a revolutionary new migration tracking system across a five-state area.

2018-10-10 - Trackers so small they can fit on a monarch butterfly : Press & Sun-Bulletin

Talk about fascinating technology … This is where I tell you about the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. It’s a surveillance system that tracks migrating animals with nanotags — radio transmitters so small they can be fitted to monarch butterflies.

2018-10-09 - WPBO Motus Tower Dedicated in Memory of Linda Jo Klemens : Michigan Audubon

When I was first approached by the Thunder Bay Audubon Society’s board about offering a donation in memory of their devoted, long-time president, Linda Jo Klemens, the first idea they brought to the table was a memorial gift that would go towards the cost of a Snowy Owl transmitter. However, the cost for one transmitter alone made this path a limiting one. As we continued to explore options, I was aware of the pressing need for funding something very tangible and long-term that would have a direct impact on bird conservation and research: a Motus tower at WPBO. The idea of sponsoring the purchase of a transmitter for a Snowy Owl in Linda’s memory was wonderful and this research is undoubtedly important, but the possibility of moving an on-loan Motus tower from our spring owl banders’ home in Paradise, Mich., to the base of our owl banding operations at the Owl’s Roost at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory seemed a very fitting and long-lasting memorial for a person who was so invested and committed to birds.

2018-10-04 - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Provides Grant To Track Bird Species Of Greatest Concern In Mid-Atlantic Region : Cision PR Newswire

A research collaboration led by the Willistown Conservation Trust, in partnership with several state agencies and nonprofits, received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to dramatically expand a new migration tracking system across a five-state area.

2018-09-29 - Project seeks to track endangered species; more added to threatened list : Sun-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Game Commission will lead a team to further expand the Motus Wildlife Tracking System in five states for monitoring eight migratory species. The Pennsylvania species being targeted by this fieldwork are Swainson’s thrush, wood thrush, blackpoll warblers, Canada warblers, rusty blackbirds, American woodcock and northern long-eared bats. Other priority species, such as New England’s Bicknell’s thrush, also are targeted by this research.

2018-09-27 - Tiny tags and a broad research network help track small animal movements : Mongabay

Despite great advances in radio-telemetry technology, tracking small animals still presents challenges due to the weight of tracking equipment. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System uses nano-tags as light as 0.2 grams to track even small birds and insects. Based on a collaborative deployment of automated telemetry receivers, Motus can track animals over a broad geographical region to help answer fundamental questions about animal movements, leading to insights that can help protect migratory species as they traverse the landscape.

2018-09-05 - Zoos and Aquariums Take Migratory Birds Under Their Wings : Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

Migratory bird conservation is taking flight at zoos and aquariums, according to a new paper published in Zoo Biology. The study outlines the role that Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions are currently playing or could play in the conservation and management of native songbirds.

2018-08-30 - This new tower at Zoo Miami tracks birds from North to South America :

The Miami-Dade park recently installed a tower called the Motus Wildlife Tracking System which tracks the movement and behavior of birds, bats and flying insects via small digitally-encoded tags attached by researchers. The transmitters send out signals several times each minute.

2018-08-30 - Zoo Miami's Motus tower helps researchers track birds during migration : WPGL Local 10

As we approach the end of summer, we'll expect more flocks of birds from the north in the sky. Migratory season starts roughly in late August, but researchers say we are seeing less birds. The Motus tower will help tie South Florida to a global research network to study and continue learning about our friends in the sky.

2018-06-29 - Depletion of Ogallala Aquifer Affecting Region's Migratory Birds : Texas Tech Today

Graduate research assistant Kristen Heath is tracking the Snowy Plover as availability of fresh water is reduced from lack of saline lakes.

2018-05-26 - New wildlife tracking tower unveiled : Bay Today

A new radio telemetry tower was unveiled Friday at the Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area. The new tower located at the top of the chairlift at Laurentian Ski Hill is tracking birds and other winged creatures as part of an international monitoring network. The North Bay tower is a collaboration between the Nipissing Naturalists, the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority and Bird Studies Canada.

2018-05-25 - North Bay now on global map for wildlife tracking : The Nugget

A radio telemetry tower unveiled Friday at the Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area is tracking birds and other winged creatures as part of an international monitoring network. The installation of the tower is a project of the Nipissing Naturalists, North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority and Bird Studies Canada.

2018-05-21 - While you sleep, scientists will use a space telescope to spy on migrating birds : Popular Science

A look at how advancing technology is allowing scientists to gain new information on bird movements including ICARUS, Motus, spectrograms, and geolocators.

2018-05-17 - Nanotag studies help biologists learn more about coastal Cheniers : StMaryNow

Samantha Collins of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is using Motus in part to help determine the importance of chenier habitats as key stopover locations of Swainson's Thrush and Northern Water Thrush.

2018-04-22 - Birds packing high-tech gear help scientists understand the migratory mysteries and dangerous life of the red knot : The Globe and Mail

From Arctic breeding grounds to the farthest tip of South America, this bird has one of the longest voyages in the animal kingdom. Now, decline of habitat and a key food source on the trip are making the endangered species’ travels even more hazardous. Canadian-U.S. researchers are going along for the virtual ride to learn how to help.

2018-04-01 - This Little Warbler Could Lead to Big Discoveries About Migration : Audubon

After bouncing back from near extinction, the Kirtland's Warbler is helping scientists understand the outsize role of winter habitat for migratory birds.

2018-03-04 - New technology tracks bird migrations : Finger Lakes Times

This past fall DEC installed a Motus Wildlife Tracking Tower at Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area to monitor bird migration through this critical migration corridor and stopover site.

2018-03-03 - Parry Sound Nature Club learns about incredible scientific program :

The Parry Sound Nature Club gathered at the West Parry Sound District Museum to hear guest speaker Stuart Mackenzie, the migration program manager at Bird Studies Canada, explaining the Motus Wildlife Tracking System being used to study migratory animals, birds, and insects.

2018-02-15 - Tracking birds in flight over the Philadelphia skies : PennCurrent

A Motus monitoring station soon to be installed on the roof of David Rittenhouse Labs will help researchers better understand urban bird migration.

2018-01-26 - Offshore Mission Collecting Data on Wind Turbines : ecoRI News

Migratory sea birds, with tiny transmitters glued to their backs, are flying missions that will determine the collision risk between them and offshore wind turbines and show how they react to these structures.

2018-01-01 - Tracking Migratory Birds in Eastern Georgian Bay : LandScript

This past spring, the Georgian Bay Land Trust joined a fast- growing scientific research network for which our widely spaced coastal holdings are perfectly suited and situated.

2017-11-29 - New Tampa Bay Site Tracks Birds with Nanotags : Bay Soundings; Tampa Bays Environmental news

The addition of two Motus stations along the Gulf Coast near Tampa will increase our knowledge of how migratory birds use this important stopover location. A truly collaborative effort between Eckerd College, Florida Gulf Coast University, Pinellas County Parks, and Tampa Electric.

2017-11-17 - Where Do Songbirds Go to Die? : The Atlantic

After revolutionizing bird-migration science over the past decade, geolocation technology is poised to shine light on the field’s darkest mystery.

2017-10-31 - Georgian Bay wilderness protected through annual Bayscapes art auction : Parry Sound North Star

The Georgian Bay Land Trust collaborates with Bird Studies Canada to install a Motus Station at the Port Severn Wetlands in Ontario, with a focus to expand the network throughout eastern Georgian Bay in 2018

2017-10-18 - The World Outdoors: Data systems help bird knowledge soar : The London Free Press

In August, Tara Crewe of Bird Studies Canada presented her research about improving the use and application of the Motus wildlife tracking system for bird movement studies. This technology relies on an international network of automated radio-telemetry stations that pick up signals from tiny digitally encoded radio transmitters known as “nano-tags” that have been fixed on migratory birds and other small animals.

2017-10-05 - Block Island Wind Farm helps researchers monitor offshore bird and bat migrations : Rhode Island Public Radio

The Block Island Wind Farm now has a wildlife tracking station aimed at helping researchers learn more about offshore flight patterns of small birds and bats that are likely to become endangered or extinct in the foreseeable future unless federal action is taken.

2017-09-19 - Deepwater Wind Installs Wildlife Tracking Station on Offshore Block Island Wind : Power Engineering

A new wind farm on Block Island, RI will double as a new site for a Motus station run by the USFWS, University of Rhode Island, and the University of Massachusetts

2017-09-07 - Filling gaps of bird tracking system on Louisiana's coast : KALB

The department, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and Louisiana Wildlife Fisheries Foundation have installed 13 Motus receiver stations since spring 2016, and plan to have a line of 32 stations by July 2018 to provide nearly seamless coverage of the coast.

2017-09-07 - Filing gaps of bird tracking system on Louisiana's coast : Bristol Herald Courier

State wildlife officials say a $100,000 grant and free access to extensive lands along Louisiana's coast will help fill the gaps in a series of solar-powered towers to track radio-tagged migratory birds.

2017-08-18 - Barn swallow haven reveals a treasure trove of bird data : Waterloo Region Record

A new Motus station innitiated by private landowners and local naturalist will help track radio tagged Barn swallows in Southern Ontario

2017-08-06 - Monet Musings and Motus Monitoring : Wildlife Preservation Canada

Captive-bred Eastern Loggerhead Shrike’s are fitted with Motus nanotags prior to release to track their movements.

2017-08-01 - Conservationists work to help vulnerable species : Victoria Advocate

Susan Heath, director of conservation for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory collects data from 12 Motus receivers along the Texas coast. Volunteers aid in monitoring American Oystercatcher’s and help maintain the Motus network.

2017-07-30 - Kirtland's Warbler Expedition Blog : Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

The Kirtland's Warbler is an endangered migratory songbird that breeds almost exclusively in Michigan and winters primarily in the Bahamas. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists study Kirtland's warblers using the Motus network to better understand their full annual cycle and contribute to the conservation of the species. The following is an ongoing, first-person account of their research in the field.

2017-06-15 - Study Finds Thrushes Make Remarkable Non-Stop Flights From South America : Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Researchers from 7 institutions in Colombia, the United States, and Canada conducted a study utilizing Motus to track Gray-cheeked Thrush. Data reveal that the number of days it takes for a bird to migrate to its breeding grounds is directly related to conditions at a single stopover site.

2017-06-13 - Motus wildlife tracking tower would put North Bay on North American map : Nugget

The Nipissing Naturalists are working with the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority to raise $10,000 to install a Motus Wildlife Tracking station at the Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area as part of an international wildlife tracking effort.

2017-05-01 - Taking flight: a high-tech approach to studying birds : In The Field

With funding from CANARIE’s Research Software program, Bird Studies Canada is creating a research portal that ties together data from all Motus receiver stations, including historical data, to allow more researchers to manage, analyze, explore and visualize bird movement data on their path to discovery.

2017-04-14 - Science of spring: Songbirds now report their location as they fly : Ottawa Citizen

Automation has come to the world of biologists who study bird migration, taking away some of the hard labour involved in studying tiny creatures that live in treetops, as highlighted through Dr. Bridget Stutchbury and Wood Thrush migration.

2017-04-11 - The new migration science : The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

A review of current methods for tracking birds

2017-04-01 - Tiny Transmitters tracking birds and butterflies : Birdlife Polokwane

A highlight of how the Motus network is being used to study migratory birds and insects over the Gulf of Mexico from South America to North America

2017-03-16 - Bahamas Ntl. Trust facilitates Migratory Bird Tracking System : The Bahamas Weekly

An advanced wildlife tracking system was installed at Andros recently to monitor the behaviour of migratory birds as part of an international research effort.

2017-03-16 - The World Outdoors: Science unravels migration mysteries : Stratford Beacon

A brief overview of Motus in the Stratford Beacon Herald.

2017-03-06 - Scientists track, for the first time, one of the rarest songbirds on its yearlong migration : Smithsonian

The journey of the Kirtland's Warbler is discovered thanks to a combination of the latest tiny technology and centuries-old solar location methods.

2017-02-21 - Wingtips at our fingertips : Harrowsmith

Stu Mackenzie of Bird Studies Canada shares how the organization is researching bird populations and patterns with the monumental Motus Wildlife Tracking System.

2017-02-10 - The tiny transmitters tracking birds from North to South America : BirdLife International

Brief overview of Motus in a Birdlife International feature piece, focusing on the collaboration with BirdLife Partners Audubon Panama and Guyara Paraguay in expanding the South American array.

2017-02-10 - The tiny transmitters tracking birds from North to South America : BirdLife

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a pioneering programme of Bird Studies Canada (BSC, BirdLife Partner), in partnership with collaborating researchers and organisations. Motus (which means “movement” in Latin) utilises miniaturised radio transmitters weighing less than 0.3g, which can be unobtrusively fitted onto the backs of birds, including small passerines such as warblers. (Even smaller transmitters have also been developed that can be fitted to insects: for instance, one study already underway is tracking the movements of Monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus).

2017-02-03 - Tiny Bird gets a hand from N.J. in global fight to survive : North Jersey

Researchers visit South America to help Semipalmated Sandpipers, which pass through Jersey on 3,300-mile migration.

2017-01-25 - Conserving Canada's wild birds: Motus Wildlife Tracking System : CANARIE News

A blog post by CANARIE, a major funder of Motus development, examining the Motus system.

2017-01-11 - Tracking birds, bats and bugs in real time : Norfolk News

Motus wildlife tracking system a benevolent Big Brother for species at risk.

2017-01-05 - How everyone - even you - can help scientists learn about climate change : TVO: Climate Watch

Citizen scientists contribute greatly to our understanding of climate change, but a new radio telemetry technology could help them do even more.

2017-01-04 - What's killing the world's shorebirds? : Nature

Researchers brave polar bears, mosquitoes and gull attacks in the Canadian Arctic to investigate an alarming die off.

2017-01-01 - Audubon tracks Semipalmated Sandpipers from South America to Delaware Bay : NJ Environment News

A piece highlighting the work done by David Mizrahi and his team, tracking migratory shorebirds around Delaware Bay, specifically Semipalmated Sandpipers.

2017-01-01 - Automated radio telemetry stations : Southeast National Wildlife Refuges; Inventory and Monitoring

Highlighting the contribution of the Southeast Region Inventory and Monitoring Branch of the National Wildlife Refuge System to the Motus network in the South Atlantic coast.

2016-11-28 - Filling a gap in bird research : University of Western Ontario

A new motus receiver station is installed on the University of Western Ontario's campus.

2016-09-23 - Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex supports Piping Plover nanotag project : USFWS Field Notes

Coverage of the 2016 Piping Plover tagging project in Rhode Island.

2016-09-12 - OPG takes part in groundbreaking bird tracking system : Ontario Power Generation

Ontario Power Generation installs a Motus receiver on their R.H. Saunders Generating Station.

2016-06-16 - Gros Morne National Park now a part of migratory bird tracking network : The Western Star

There's little doubt Darroch Whitaker will be a bit giddy every time he heads to the Berry Hill Campground to check data from the new receiving station there.

2016-05-04 - Panama Welcomes the Motus Wildlife Tracking System : Bird Studies Canada

Motus spreads to Panama as 4 new receivers successfully detect Thrush tagged in Colombia.

2016-03-01 - New bird tracking initiative will revolutionise migration studies : WorldBirdWatch

Our knowledge of the movements of migratory birds looks set to be radically increased with the development of one of the world’s most ambitious bird tracking initiatives. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a pioneering programme of Bird Studies Canada (BSC, one of the two Canadian BirdLife Partners), in partnership with collaborating researchers and organisations.

2016-02-01 - Coastal bird progam joins Motus Network - installs first Gulf Coast array : Living On The Edge

The Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program's Coastal Bird Program installs it's first array of Motus telemetry stations to document shorebird migration along the Central Flyway through the Gulf of Mexico.

2016-01-01 - Scientists deploy 'nanotags' to study shorebirds : National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Tiny tracking devices help identify population pressure points.

2015-11-30 - Tiny technology that's making a big difference : USFWS

Using Motus to track Saltmarsh Sparrows along the Atlantic coast.

2015-10-15 - Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge joins Motus Network and nanotags Woodcock : USFWS Field Notes

Moosehorn NWR joines the Motus network to study migration patterns of American Woodcock.

2015-08-05 - Tracking birds with precision : Simcoe Reformer

The Simcoe Reformer covers the Motus Wildlife Tracking Network.

2015-04-27 - Migrating animals tracked over West Perth wetlands : Mitchell Advocate

The Mitchell Advocate covers the installation of a new Motus receiver station in the West Perth Wetlands.

2015-03-24 - Migratory birds tracked by radio transmitters in Maritimes : CBC

42 solar-powered towers in region are part of cross-border bird study.

2015-02-01 - Radio tracking migrating birds with the Motus System : The Wood Duck

Overview of the Motus tracking network in the Wood Duck.

2014-09-01 - Tracking Birds at Continental Scales: The Motus Wildlife Tracking System : BirdWatch Canada

Thanks to a combination of miniaturized radio transmitters and a new, expansive network of receivers, researchers are now able to track movements of even very small birds over distances that span the entire continent. And Bird Studies Canada is playing a leading role in making this happen.

2013-09-01 - Using tiny "nanotags"to track large scale bird migrations : The Wrack Line

Coverage by Nancy Pau in the Wrack Line that Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a Motus receiver station.

2013-07-31 - Using coded radio tags to track Common and Arctic Tern foraging behaviour : USFWS Field Notes

Terns tagged at the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge to study foraging behaviour during breeding season.

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