In collaboration with Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, the Ogden Nature Center recently installed a Motus migratory tracking station on the 152-acre nature preserve, just south of the LS Peery Education Building. With this Motus station, the Ogden Nature Center is contributing to conservation efforts across North America while bolstering Ogden's status as a federally recognized Urban Bird Treaty City.

Motus is a system that tracks the migration patterns of various flying animal species, including birds, bats, butterflies, dragonflies, and other small creatures. It consists of a network of automated receiving stations that detect signals from tiny radio transmitters attached to animals. The information gathered from the stations helps researchers better understand migration patterns, behavior, and habitat use. This, in turn, contributes to conservation efforts.

Tracy Aviary, supported by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, has built multiple stations along the Wasatch Front and across the West Desert to get a better understanding of which species use these areas as migration corridors and stop-overs. The station at the Ogden Nature Center is the 30th funded station in Utah. Each station has a detection range of at least 15 kilometers and continuously records GPS data from the radio transmitters attached to the animals, allowing researchers to determine which direction they are traveling and how much time they are spending in certain areas. For example, the Motus station at the Bear River Bird Refuge picked up signals from Willow Flycatchers that were tagged in Canada earlier this fall.

The installation of the Motus station presents numerous research opportunities for the Ogden Nature Center and Weber State University alike. In the future, funds will be secured to purchase telemetry equipment and tags to deploy on species of interest so that their behaviors, territories, and migration routes can be studied. Furthermore, the station will provide opportunities for data mining and analysis as well as GIS mapping projects. Tracy Aviary is working on an interactive website for the Motus stations that will allow citizens to access information on animals that have been pinged by any of the stations, including the Ogden Nature Center.



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