Northern Saw-whet Owl ( Aegolius acadicus ) with nanotag: David Brinker.

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) with nanotag: David Brinker.

After more than a century of research, our understanding of the movement ecology of migratory birds is still surprisingly rudimentary. This is especially true for nocturnal species like owls and smaller passerines, which present obvious challenges. New technologies like satellite and GPS/GSM transmitters can answer some questions, but they are effective only on larger species able to carry these relatively heavy and expensive devices.  

With small Motus towers in place from Nunavut, Canada to Chile, more than 10,000 animals representing more than 80 species, including songbirds, raptors, seabirds, bats, monarch butterflies and migratory dragonflies, have been tagged by dozens of participant researchers.  

Having already installed 20 receiver stations from Lake Erie to Pennsylvania our larger goal is to fill out the Motus network within Pennsylvania and then to expand throughout the inland Northeast, creating a network of roughly 75 stations from the mid-Atlantic to New England. This would plug a significant geographic gap in the Motus network and make tracking of all migratory species in eastern North America dramatically more effective.