Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Headquarters at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

Motus Telemetry

The Observatory's Motus Tower

What is Motus? “The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (the word is Latin for ‘movement’) is an international collaborative research network that uses a coordinated automated radio-telemetry array to track the movement and behavior of small flying organisms. Motus tracks animals (birds, bats, and large insects) affixed with digitally encoded radio-transmitter ‘nanotags’ that broadcast signals several times each minute. These signals are detected by automated radio telemetry stations that scan for signals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When results from many stations are combined, the array can track animals across a diversity of landscapes covering thousands of kilometers.”  Over 400 Motus receivers are gathering data in the United States today. Most are located along the East Coast and in the east from southern Ontario, across Pennsylvania, with some now also located in other states as well as along the Gulf Coast. There are only a few other stations in the Western Great Lakes Region. WGLBBO erected a station at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in December of 2018, and we are working with partners to deploy a line of new stations east-to-west across Wisconsin, and north-to-south near the Lake Michigan shoreline.