Motus station installed on Isle of Man


A Motus migration system has been installed at a bird observatory on the Isle of Man.

The equipment, which is part of a global network, picks up radio signals from hundreds of birds which have been previously tagged. The Manx station was the first to go live in the west of Britain.

Some 8,000 birds are caught and ringed every year by the wardens on the Calf of Man, which sits off the southern coast of the Isle of Man. Observatory Warden Aron Sapsford said it would help researchers to understand some of the "many mysteries" of bird migration and added that having the Motus tower at the bird observatory was an "incredibly exciting development" that would allow for "innovative research".

The Motus station has been installed on the Calf of Man (Aron Sapsford).

Via the network, the technology would track wildlife "not only across the island but within the wider context of the Irish Sea and beyond" as the equipment could follow where birds and insects arrive from and go to, an Isle of Man Wildlife Trust spokesperson said.

The Curraghs Wildlife Park Conservation Fund provided a grant for the station and local donors supplied the scaffolding for the station to be mounted on to and technical support to set it up.

Isle of Man Wildlife Trust plans to create up to eight more stations across the island, and funding for two further sites has already been secured.

Recently, a Dutch-tagged Yellow-browed Warbler was tracked as it flew past the Motus station at Dungeness Bird Observatory in Kent. Last year, a Goldcrest tagged on Vlieland was picked up as it migrated past Spurn Bird Observatory in East Yorkshire.

Find out more about the Motus Wildlife Tracking System at motus.org. An article on Motus can be read in the July 2022 issue of Birdwatch.