New tracking devices our transforming our understanding of bird movements, and the fate of individuals. As part of MoveTech Telemetry, BTO plays an important role in the development of these devices, as well as using them for innovative research. Different tracking devices, such as geolocators to satellite tags, are documenting for the first time the global migrations of a range of species, from Willow Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers to Arctic Skuas and Cuckoos. At a more local scale, these technologies also enable us to study habitat use and home ranges, whether of raptors in East Anglia, or waders on the coast.
Leakage of plastics and other debris from landfills to a highly protected lake by wintering gulls
The study, led by the Institut de Ciències del Mar and Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, Spain, used diet samples collected in January 2022 at the Fuente de Piedra – an inland lake in Spain...
Challenges in quantifying the responses of Black-legged Kittiwake to habitat variables and local stressors due to individual variation
During the 2021 breeding season, BTO scientists tracked 20 Kittiwakes, fitted with small GPS devices, from Whinnyfold – part of the Buchan Ness to Collieston Coast Special Protection Area – in...
Sharing our gull tracking expertise in a study of Dublin’s ‘noisy neighbours’
PhD student Jon Willans takes us through his fascination with gulls and his fieldwork, which was supported by our scientists.
Behavioural responses of Sandwich terns following the construction of offshore wind farms
Between 2016 and 2019, BTO scientists fitted Sandwich Terns breeding at Scolt Head Island in Norfolk with long-life GPS tags which tracked the birds’ movements over multiple years. When the...
Flight heights obtained from GPS versus altimeters influence estimates of collision risk with offshore wind turbines in Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus
As previous BTO research has shown, bird-borne tracking devices are essential for shedding light on seabird flight behaviour. Different methods for gathering flight height information within tracking...
How do offshore wind farms affect seabird behaviour?
Research reveals a crucial link between wind farm design and Sandwich Tern behaviour in the North Sea.
Arctic Skua migration: stories from the field
Where do Arctic Skuas go when they are not in Scotland? Helen and David Aiton take us through their fieldwork seasons for BTO’s Arctic Skua tracking project, which has followed these fascinating...
Combining remote sensing and tracking data to quantify species’ cumulative exposure to anthropogenic change
The results showed that although the actual amount of change had been greatest on the breeding grounds, cumulative exposure to changes in direct mortality risk and climate were...
LifeCycle issue 12, Summer 2023
This issue contains articles on Redshank and Dunnock nest finding as well as a feature with advice and guidance on accessing funding to help fund fieldwork. There is also the first of what we hope...
A crowded ocean: the need for demographic and movement data in seabird conservation
To implement effective conservation actions, locally and globally, we need to quantify the importance of the multiple, often interacting, threats to seabird population growth rates. Population models...
Flight Paths: the story of bird migration science
Science writer Rebecca Heisman tells us how she came to write her first book, Flight Paths, and why it’s vital that we tell the stories of the birds around us.
Can Cuckoos adapt their clocks to climate change?
Cuckoos aren’t returning to the UK earlier, even as spring advances – but why? BTO research reveals new insights into the timing of this species’ migratory cycle.
Reduced breeding success in Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus due to harness-mounted GPS device
Studies involving fitting animals with bio-logging devices have provided essential information on behaviour, ecology, physiology and ultimately species conservation. Much BTO research in recent years...
2023’s Cuckoos are tagged and ready to go
BTO has fitted 10 more Cuckoos with satellite tags, allowing scientists and the general public to follow these incredible birds on their annual migration.
LifeCycle issue 11, Autumn 2022
This edition also includes articles on monitoring Knot, Meadow Pipits, seabirds, Blackcaps, Barnacle Geese and Woodcock, alongside articles showcasing how the data ringers and nest recorders collect...
Thoracic harnesses are not suitable for Kittiwake tagging studies.
Biologging devices including GPS and satellite tags, which attach to individual animals and collect information on their movements, are increasingly deployed in ecology and conservation research....
Connectivity between countries established by landbirds and raptors migrating along the African-Eurasian flyway
Each year, more than two billion birds migrate along the African-Eurasian flyway. The increasing availability of tracking technology, involving attaching very small devices to migrant songbirds, has...
Sharing our seabird research
From Black Guillemots to Eider and Arctic Skua, our scientists discussed a range of research at the International Seabird Group Conference in August.
Curlew are highly faithful to a small winter range, a finding which will inform conservation management for this Red-listed species.
In a collaborative study led by the University of Hull, BTO scientists aimed to find out more by establishing the overwinter home range size (the size of the space used by the birds during winter) of...
Tracking data allows researchers to monitor Curlew without disturbance during the breeding season
The Curlew is of significant conservation concern in the UK, but many questions still remain about their breeding behaviour. This is partially due to the species’ cryptic nature and sensitivity to...
Urban and coastal breeding lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) segregate by foraging habitat
Songbird migration across the Sahara
Mark Wilson, BTO Research Ecologist, reflects on his work tagging songbirds to collect data about their migration routes over the Sahara.
Exciting research conducted by an international team shines a new light on Swift migration.
Relative roles of static and dynamic abiotic conditions as drivers of foraging behaviour in breeding Sandwich Terns
Meet the Class of 2022
BTO scientists tagged seven Cuckoos to in June 2022, to further our understanding of Cuckoo migration and survival.
PJ the Cuckoo: his legacy lives on
Record-breaking Cuckoo PJ has died in his summer territory in King's Forest, but data from his tag continues to inform our research.
What have the Cuckoos taught us?
Over a decade since the Cuckoo Tracking Project began, we’ve learnt an incredible amount.