When you want to discover where small birds migrate to, geolocators provide a solution. Primarily used for species too small for our PinPoint GPS, or species where legmounts are safer for birds than harness mounted backpacks.
Our miniature light-level geolocator tags record light levels against time which can be processed to give latitude and longitude. Although not as accurate as GPS or ARGOS, this method allows a much smaller and cheaper device that can record for a long time.
For seabirds, logging of wet/dry information and sea surface temperature can also be included. The wet/dry recording has been developed to measure the activity of the birds, and the temperature information can be correlated with satellite recorded sea-surface temperatures to improve location accuracy.
Designed and developed by engineers at the British Antarctic Survey.
From 0.38-2.9 g:
Appropriate for small to large birds
Download to PC through M-Series RS232/USB interface
Analysis using BASTrak software
Appropriate for migratory studies to investigate stopover places and timing, migration routes, wintering areas or non-breeding locations.
Geolocators require reasonable exposure to daylight which is important when considering whether this method is appropriate for your species. For example, when individuals use dark cavities or areas with heavy canopy, the light data gets erratic and this can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to analyse. This may only happen in periods when you do not need to know their location, e.g. birds breeding in nestboxes in the season when you can catch them, may not use cavities when they are on non-breeding grounds. Another time when light tends to get blocked, and frustrate geolocation, is when they incubate eggs and sit on legs that have geolocators.
Integrating Information from Geolocators, Weather Radar, and Citizen Science to Uncover a Key Stopover Area of an Aerial Insectivore
Andrew J. Laughlin, Caz M. Taylor, David W. Bradley, Dayna Leclair, Robert C. Clark, Russell D. Dawson, Peter O. Dunn, Andrew Horn, Marty Leonard, Daniel R. Sheldon, Dave Shutler, Linda A. Whittingham, David W. Winkler and D. Ryan Norris
Effects of geolocators on reproductive performance and annual return rates of a migratory songbird
Jesús Gómez, Chantel I. Michelson, David W. Bradley, D. Ryan Norris, Lisha L. Berzins, Russell D. Dawson and Robert G. Clark
Trans-Gulf of Mexico loop migration of tree swallows revealed by solar geolocation
David W. Bradley, Robert G. Clark, Peter O. Dunn, Andrew J. Laughlin, Caz M. Taylor, Carol M. Vleck, Linda A. Whittingham, David W. Winkler and D. Ryan Norris
Connectivity of wood thrush breeding, wintering, and migration sites based on range-wide tracking
Calandra Q. Stanley, Emily A. McKinnon, Kevin C. Fraser, Maggie P. Macpherson, Garth Casbourn, Lyle Friesen, Peter P. Marra, Colin Studds, T. Brandt Ryder, Nora E. Diggs and Bridget J. M. Stutchbury
Geolocators on Golden-winged Warblers do not affect migratory ecologySean M. Peterson, Henry M. Streby, Gunnar R. Kramer, Justin A. Lehman, David A. Buehler, and
David E. Andersen
Geolocator reveals migratory and winter movements of a Prothonotary Warbler
Jared D. Wolfe and Erik I. Johnson
Minimizing marker mass and handling time when attaching radio-transmitters and geolocators to small songbirds
Henry M. Streby, Tara L. McAllister, Sean M. Peterson, Gunnar R. Kramer, Justin A. Lehman, and David E. Andersen (2015)
A Trans-Hemispheric Migratory Songbird Does Not Advance Spring Schedules or Increase Migration Rate in Response to Record-SettingTemperatures at Breeding Sites.
Fraser KC, Silverio C, Kramer P, Mickle N, Aeppli R, etal. (2013)
Tracking from the Tropics Reveals Behaviour of Juvenile Songbirds on Their First Spring Migration.
McKinnon EA, Fraser KC, Stanley CQ, Stutchbury BJM (2014)
Hybrid songbirds employ intermediate routes in a migratory divide
Delmore, KE and Irwin, DE (2014)
Migratory movements of rhinoceros auklets in the northwestern Pacific: connecting seasonal productivities.
Takahashi, Akinori, Motohiro Ito, Yuuya Suzuki, Yutaka Watanuki, Jean-Baptiste Thiebot, Takashi Yamamoto, Takahiro Iida, Phil Trathan, Yasuaki Niizuma, and Tomohiro Kuwae (2015)
Light-level geolocation reveals wintering distribution, migration routes, and primary stopover locations of an endangered long-distance migratory songbird
Nathan W. Cooper, Michael T. Hallworth and Peter P. Marra
Migratory pathways, stopover zones and wintering destinations of Western European Nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus
Ruben Evens, Greg J. Conway, Ian G. Henderson, Brian Creswell, Frédéric Jiguet, Caroline Moussy, Didier Sénécal, Nele Witters, Natalie Beenaerts and Tom Artois
For species associated with water
MK5… family (0.75g – 1.2g)
Legmount for waders & shallow divers
Expected life 1 – 3 years (model dependent)
MK3… family (2.5g) MK4… family (1.5 – 2.0g)
Deep-diving and larger waterbirds
Expected life 2 – 5 years (model dependent)
Options for Marine Geolocators
For species that do not go in water
MK6… family (0.39 – 1.0g)
Small bird backpacks
Expected life 10 – 24 months (model dependent)
MK5… family & MK7… family (0.75g – 2.0g)
Larger more rugged tags
Expected life 10 – 24 months (model dependent)
Options for Terrestrial Geolocators
There are a great variety of options to consider, including what is recorded, how the tags are mounted on the birds, how robust they need to be and how to ensure the light sensors are not obscured by feathers. It is impossible to show all models on one sheet, so please contact one of our Telemetry Specialists to discuss your needs.