4 Apr 2024


The Motus system is an international tracking system using automated telemetry to remotely track tagged birds and bats and his been gaining traction in European migration and Bird Observatories to help our understanding of migratory animals fitted with 'Motus tag' . Conventional ringing and colour marking allows us to track  a birds movements when its subsequently see nat different locations but doesn't allow us to see, in real time, the effects of weather conditions on their movements between two points.

See the Motus website here for more details:

UK Bird observatories were introduced to the technology several years go at a Bird Obs Council meeting and generated a lot of interest with many Obs committing to installing their own systems. Thanks to Chris and Richard, Hilbre Bird Obs now has an operational Motus tracking system - the first on the west coast mainland of the UK. 

Map showing Motus receiving stations in Europe. Hilbre is the small yellow dot on the west coast mainland of the UK

'A Motus station is an automated radio telemetry station designed to listen to specific types of radio transmitters used to track wildlife. These stations comprise the physical ground-based infrastructure of the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. A station consists of several parts: a radio receiver (computer) and peripherals such as antennas, cables, a mounting structure, and a power supply. Installing and maintaining a Motus station is no small task, but the rewards are great'. See photos below.

Hilbre's Motus arial system with 3 arial array

Receiver  system with a receiver for each arial

With no permanent power supply on Hilbre the project was a bit more complicated than it would have been on a mainland Obs with an electrical supply but that's been overcome by Chris installing a dedicated solar system with battery
storage. Our system will not only pick up birds with tags but also bats and we're all eagerly waiting for our 1st 'hit'.

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