After many months of planning and partnership-building the time was finally here! We have installed our first Motus Tower in Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve to support bird research in the Highlands, which contributes to tri-national effort! We will now be able to track some bird species that arrive in Haliburton County, and who have travelled all the way from south America. The Motus tower can track birds that arrive within a 20-30 km radius of the tower within Haliburton Forest. Knowing where birds land and which habitats they use will also allow us to estimate priority sites for conservation and protection. This tower is the first of three that The Land Between will be installing.
To install the tower, our bird expert Xavier Tuson (who many of you recently attended the birding walks with) lead our team to new heights as they climbed up a 150 foot tower for the installation!
A Motus Tower is a receiver for radio signals that are emitted every 5 seconds from microchips that have been fastened to bird’s backs by researchers all over the Americas. Currently, there are Motus towers in many places across southern and northern America, which means we can track a bird’s full migration pattern/flight route and also understand where and what habitats that they are using!
Birds are excellent bio-indicators of habitat health! By understanding more about how birds move and where they live we will also learn more about the functions and health of the ecosystems in which they reside, including the health of plants, trees, the presence of pollinators, food sources such as seeds, and also whether the habitat is healthy enough to support other associated species.
In particular, our specific goal for these towers in the Land Between is to use them to understand the migration patterns and habitat requirements for aerial insectivores (birds whose diets consist mainly or entirely of bugs) such as the whippoorwill. Aerial insectivores are the fastest declining species of birds, due to habitat loss and large reductions in insect populations, making their conservation of the utmost importance.
Motus towers were developed through partners such as Birds Canada!