Automated radio telemetry systems consist of radio tags (small transmitters attached to birds, bats, or insects) and stations (receivers with antennas that record signals from “tagged” organisms within detection range). The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (‘Motus’; www.motus.org) is an international collaborative research network that uses cooperative automated radio telemetry to track tagged organisms on coordinated frequencies (currently 166.380 MHz and 434 MHz in North America). Collaborators using Motus have collectively tagged tens of thousands of birds and bats and tracked their movements using an international network of automated radio telemetry stations. Motus also serves as a hub for data from thousands of receiving stations and tagged animals worldwide representing hundreds of species. A centralized database at the Birds Canada National Data Centre manages and disseminates data and metadata in a standardized format across all projects in the network. This document is part of an effort to develop standardized protocols for using Motus to monitor birds and bats in offshore environments. The overall study includes the following components:
- A ‘Guidance Document’ describing technological specifications and operation of Motus stations on offshore structures, in order to guide and standardize station deployment processes and obtain standardized, site-specific data on the movements of tagged animals through offshore wind project areas.
- An online ‘Study Design Tool,’ known as IDIOMS (‘Informing the Design and Implementation of Offshore Motus Systems’), to help design, optimize, and assess coverage of wind energy project areas and adjacent waters from simulated arrays of Motus stations located on offshore structures.
- A ‘Simulation Study’ that evaluates Motus design challenges and informs IDIOMS and monitoring recommendations by estimating detection probability of select avian taxa moving through simulated arrays of Motus stations within wind energy project areas.
- A ‘Data Framework’ within the Motus Wildlife Tracking System to facilitate coordination and dissemination of detection data, metadata, and summary reports from all tagged animals and Motus stations deployed for offshore wind energy applications in the Atlantic region of North America.
- A ‘Monitoring Framework’ that contains guidance on applications of automated radio telemetry technology for monitoring birds and bats in offshore environments at site-specific to regional scales, including specifications of transmitters for deployments to inform offshore wind energy development activities.
All products from this effort are publicly available at: https://motus.org/groups/atlantic-offshore-wind/. The products are intended to be living documents that are updated as new information and technology becomes available.