Southern Sierra Research Station

...conserving biological diversity through research

Motus Workshop

in Weldon, CA


After more than a century of research, our understanding of the movements of migratory animals is still surprisingly rudimentary. Yet understanding how animals move across the landscape, shifting from hemisphere to hemisphere, is critical to preserving them in an ever-more threatening, human-influenced world. Recent geolocation technological developments are allowing researchers to make rapid advancements in understanding spatial and temporal movement patterns, including migratory connectivity. However, geolocation technology remains limited for small animals and understanding the trade-offs between various geolocator tags is critical to designing sound studies. Motus is a new generation of highly miniaturized digital radio-telemetry systems allowing researchers to track the movements of radio-tagged individuals across thousands of miles of distance, and months or years of time, with unprecedented temporal precision.


Spearheaded by Bird Studies Canada (BSC), the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus, motus-wts.org) is an international collaborative research network of automated radio-telemetry receiving stations. Motus facilitates landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. The tracking system has been successfully used to identify important stopover sites, migratory routes, and post-fledging dispersal. The current network of receiver stations comprises more than 400 sites from the Canadian Arctic to South America, operated by more than 100 collaborators. Since 2013, more than 10,000 individuals of more than 100 species have been monitored using the system. Data collected from these stations feed into BSC's master database where it is archived, visualized, and distributed to researchers and the general public.


SSRS is teaming up with the Powdermill Avian Research Center from Rector Pennsylvania to host a Motus workshop for western U.S. researchers. No prior experience with Motus nanotags is required and participants will learn everything required to run a Motus station, including hands on experience building a raspberry pi sensorgnome, setting up a Motus station tower with antennas, and observing nanotag attachment onto birds. Presentations will focus on equipment, project planning, and examples of how the network has been used for research.


Workshop registration is $300 will run from Thursday March 14 at 1 pm to Saturday March 16 at 5 pm, with an optional training day on Sunday March 17 to demonstrate and learn how to safely attach nanotags to birds. The workshop will be held at the Southern Sierra Research Station and at the Kern River Audubon Preserve in Weldon, CA. Lodging is available at various hotels in the valley, the closest will be in Kernville, or Paradise Cove near Lake Isabella. Lunches will be provided but participants will be responsible for their own breakfasts and dinners. Participants can build and take home their own Rasberry Pi sensorgnome (Funcube Dongles not included) for an additional $225.


If you are interested in the workshop, please submit the registration form below and then pay for the workshop using a credit card with the PayPal button.


To register for the workshop, please 1. submit the registration form below and then 2. use the Paypal button to pay for the workshop. When both of these steps are confirmed by SSRS we will send you an email confirming your registration.


Motus Workshop Registration Form


* Required

Workshop Payment