Developing electronic tags and wildlife tracking technology
The development of tracking technology is providing exciting new opportunities to reveal the movements and migrations of birds and other animals.
- To develop an array of electronic tags in-house.
- To deploy these and commercially available tags to answer key conservation research questions.
- Video/GPS combined tags were tested and deployed in 2013. These were finished in 2014 and used on gannets, frigate birds and gulls.
- 2015 to present GPS tags which communicate locally have been gathering data on species such as turtle dove, stone-curlew and puffins.
- GPS tags which transmit location data over mobile phone (GSM) networks developed. These were first deployed on cattle on RSPB reserves in 2013.
- 2014 completion of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag logger to be used to monitor birds at nests/feeders.
- Prototype in-house satellite (phone) tags have been developed/lab tested and will get their first field test on vultures in Nepal during 2017.
- Preliminary work has begun using radio dongles to test the viability of the remote listening device.
- Build a tag utilising a satellite phone network thus avoiding the large costs associated with currently available tags.
- To work with a developer to produce a lighter more economical 'Mataki' remote download GPS tag for deployment in 2017.
- Design a low cost 'listening device' to detect and record the presence of any tracking device as often the telemetry devices are dropped from the animal.
- Evaluate optimum conditions for the mobile phone GSM equivalent and test with battery and solar options on avian studies.
- Utilise the RFID loggers for the first time on the EU LIFE godwit project.
Fly with a gannet
This footage was obtained from a GPS/video tag attached to a Grassholm island gannet as part of a seabird monitoring project being undertaken jointly by the RSPB and University of Exeter.