Partnering with Bird Studies Canada: Irving Nature Park participates in one of the most ambitious research and conservation projects in the world.

March 20, 2015:  Irving Nature Park has partnered with Bird Studies Canada to install a Motus Wildlife Tracking System at the Park.

Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a technology that tracks small organisms using very high frequency radio transmissions.  Researchers tag small birds such as warblers with small transmitters that weigh less than 0.3 grams.  The transmitter emits a short pulse, broadcasting individual signals. Each Motus tracking station can detect and record radio-tags at distances of up to 15 km. 

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Motus Wildlife Tracking System on the south shore of Nova Scotia, similar to station at Irving Nature Park. 
Photo courtesy of David Bell.


The staff at Irving Nature Park has done a great job monitoring the species that enter our area.  However, their success is often limited by things such as weather and time of day.  Having Motus receiving stations allows for greater success. The receiving station at Irving Nature Park was erected on June 6, 2014, and has detected four different species thus far. The species detected at the park were tagged at various locations, including Nova Scotia, Maine, Quebec, and Massachusetts. 

“This tracking system is on duty 24/7, in all-weather with 100% accuracy of species,” said Kelly Honeyman, Chief Naturalist with J.D. Irving, Limited.  “It will not replace our ongoing birding efforts but will certainly enhance the quality and quantity of data, especially as more and more species get tagged.”

With over 250 stations in total, Motus receiving stations have been established throughout southern Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and as far north as Southampton Island, Nunavut. In 2014, researchers and organizations radio-tagged over 1800 birds and bats of more than 30 species. 

"Many of the ground-breaking discoveries made by Motus would not be possible without the collaboration of numerous landowners that host stations on their property,” said Stu Mackenzie, Motus Wildlife Tracking System Manager.   “With the cooperation of J.D. Irving, Limited, and the Irving Nature Park, Motus has established a critical station along the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy and the mouth of the Saint John River.  This site has been crucial to our investigations about how migratory birds specifically navigate around the Bay of Fundy and more generally throughout northeastern North America.” 

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Blackpoll Warbler, a species detected at Irving Nature Park.
Photo courtesy of Jim Flynn

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