Motus Project

Motus is the world's largest collaborative automated radio telemetry array, using receivers that automatically record signals from radio transmitters.

The link to our Motus project #434 on the Motus website can be found here:


The Motus Wildlife Tracking System provides an excellent opportunity to study migration and habitat use by Northern Saw-whet Owls.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a small nocturnal owl found in parts of
southern Canada and the northern USA. The species is partly migratory
throughout its range. Large numbers of owls are captured and banded at
monitoring stations each fall, including hundreds captured at Rocky Point Bird Observatory. Significant numbers of owls migrate through southern
Vancouver Island each fall. Yet the migratory routes and destinations for
these birds remain poorly understood.

Motus Pilot Project

This collaborative pilot project by RPBO, Vancouver Island University (VIU),
and Tatlayoko Bird Observatory (TLBO) aims to use Motus to assess the
movement behaviour of Northern Saw-whet Owls tagged in coastal areas of
BC. In 2021, 38 Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured and tagged at three
locations: Nanaimo 8 (VIU), Metchosin 21 (RPBO), and Tatlayoko Lake 9
(TLBO). Individual owls selected for tagging received a Lotek Avian
NanoTag is held on the bird's back using a leg-loop harness. The tag will emit a radio signal every 29 seconds for up to two years. Owl movements are recorded by the Motus receiver network to help determine the species'
migratory behaviour.

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