Our Flyway GPS-GSM devices have been used on a wide variety of research projects to help answer ecological questions or inform conservation.
Dozens of projects on over 20 species have used our Flyway GPS-GSM devices, predominantly in Europe and Africa though data transmission is not limited to particular network providers so will work worldwide.
Find out below about just some of the projects using Movetech Telemetry devices to help answer their research questions.
Adult gull fitted with a Flyway-18 device
Juvenile gulls are also being tracked to compare their movements with adults.
Typical offshore development similar to those being constructed near to large seabird colonies in the UK
Photo: Dawn Balmer
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
As governments commit to increase the amount of renewable energy, substantial new wind farms are rapidly being constructed, putting additional pressure on both marine and terrestrial environments.
Our understanding of the interactions between birds and wind farms and the potential risks from turbines is still incomplete. For protected species which regularly use marine habitats, assessing the potential impacts from new offshore developments is important and access to detailed and precise spatial information is essential.
GPS tracking of Lesser Black-backed Gulls has provided new insights into their movements not only in and around existing wind farms but also during the construction of new developments. GPS-GSM devices in particular were important for enabling the recovery of data from birds tracked in difficult areas, such as urban centres, where other data recovery methods may be less feasible.
Alderney's Gannet colonies support several thousand pairs each and these birds are vulnerable to changes in the marine environment. Tracking has shown a diversity of foraging strategies that vary between years.
Photo: Paul K Veron
Transmission of GPS data via the mobile phone network allows remote download of data, thus removing the need for extra trips to the colony to retrieve devices. This map shows the track of one bird - the pink dots are from the other nine birds tracked in 2016 from the rock outcrop of Ortac, offshore of Alderney.
We have used various solar panels for these devices - this one has three small solar panels, allowing the device to charge when the birds is flying. Fitting the device to the tail of the Gannet ensures it is only temporarily attached and not on the bird permanently.
Gannet Morus bassanus
Alderney, Channel Islands
GPS tracking devices have totally revolutionised our understanding of how seabirds use the marine environment. One of the main problems is that archival devices need to be retrieved from the colony and many are often not retrieved and the data are lost. The additional disturbance to the birds colony and extra costs of retrieval are also undesirable.
By using GPS/GSM devices the need for retrieval trips are not needed. In many areas, GSM is available in the colony or in areas near the coast. Movetech devices have been employed for 5 years in the Gannet colonies offshore the Channel Island of Alderney and have given a unique insight into how these birds use their marine environment. The project, jointly with the Alderney Wildlife Trust, the University of Liverpool and BTO has demonstrated the impact of existing and proposed offshore windfarms on this internationally-important seabird colony.
Contact: Phil Atkinson
White Stork fitted with a Flyway-50 device
Photo: Carlos Pacheco
Example tracks of White Stork migration
White Stork about to be released after fitting device
White stork Ciconia ciconia
This project focuses on the iconic White Stork, an adaptable and opportunistic species. Since the mid-1980s, an increasing number of White Storks have chosen to stay in Iberia all year rather than migrate to Africa in winter. Between 1995-2015, numbers of wintering storks in Portugal increased from c.1,180 individuals to over 14,000!
This large wintering population heavily relies on landfill sites, which provide guaranteed, abundant food during the winter when natural food sources are scarce.
From the data we can determine the importance of landfill sites during different seasons and better understand individual's migratory decisions of birds. With fixes every 20 minutes and microbursts of accelerometer data we can infer behaviour. Due to EU regulations many landfill sites will close and rubbish will need to be covered with earth - thus reducing food available to storks. How will they respond?
We have now deployed more than 100 Flyway-50s on this species.
Find out more
Large gulls breeding and foraging in urban areas are increasingly involved in potential conflicts with people
Photo: Beth Arkwright
Herring Gull just fitted with a Flyway-18 device
Photo: Rachel Taylor
Approximately 6 weeks of data (June-July 2017), clearly show this individual is a 'sub-urban' gull, which spends most of its time foraging in and around Bangor.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Contact: Rachel Taylor
Little Bustard fitted with a Flyway device and about to be released
Photo: João Paulo Silva
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax
Portugal and Spain
The Little Bustard is a threatened lekking grassland bird with important remaining populations residing in the Iberian Peninsula. We have been using Movetech Telemetry devices to study migratory decisions and identify post migratory areas. Additionally, we have been identifying the bird’s behaviour related to each location based on accelerometer readings. Conversely we are modelling the environmental features influencing the occurrence of each type of behaviour, providing detailed patterns of habitat selection.
Contact: João Paulo Silva
Photo: Sarah Kelman (Banner)
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