Wildlife tracking technology is continuously evolving and allowing researchers to monitor, track, and locate wildlife in a higher resolution and on finer scale each year. All of this new data is helping us fill knowledge gaps and tailor conservation efforts in ways previously never imagined.
As a pioneer of raptor migration ecology in the west, we have been banding birds at our migration sites for over 30 years, contributing to the greater understanding of western flyways and migration patterns of individual species. Colorbands are another useful tool used to track bird movements through resighting efforts of the large alphanumeric codes that can be seen from afar on the band. John James Audubon conducted the first known bird banding experiment in the early 1800s; since then bands have been an invaluable tool in providing researchers glimpses into the movements and patterns of birds.
HawkWatch International first started using satellite tracking units in 1999 to research migration ecology. We deployed nearly 100 units on Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, and Norther Goshawks to track their migration movements and study patterns of habitat use. You can view the Deployment Table detailing the number of birds deployed each year and from which location, as well as summaries and maps by clicking the links below.
Currently, we are deploying satellite tracking units on Golden Eagle nestlings throughout Utah to track their movements and study the threats they encounter within their first year of leaving the nest. We are also collaborating with other organizations and government entities to lend our expertise in deploying units and researching data.
In 2012, we deployed 24 geolocators on Flammulated Owls to gain a better understanding of migration routes and wintering locations for this elusive, insectivorous forest owl. A geolocator is a lightweight device used to track movements of smaller birds by periodically recording ambient light levels and allowing researchers to determine their location and movement through triangulation. The difficult part about geolocators is you have to retrieve the unit to collect the data.