Satellite tracking has been used to monitor the movements and survival of large birds and mammals for nearly 20 years, but the technology is rapidly improving and tag sizes are decreasing. We are now in the exciting position where satellite tags are small enough to be safely used on birds weighing as little as 150g. There is huge interest in understanding woodcock migrations and satellite tags provide the opportunity to follow individual birds accurately in near real time.
Our satellite tracking project is one aspect of our wider research on woodcock migration. The aim of using satellite transmitters is to obtain information on the routes taken between British wintering sites and foreign breeding grounds by migrant woodcock.
Beginning with our initial sample of 12 satellite transmitters in 2012, we have tagged and tracked 59 migrant woodcock. Not only have we been able to answer simple questions on the origins of these birds, this large sample has also allowed us to detect subtle differences between different winter populations and study years.
Click here to see the results of our Satellite-tracking so far >