Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

BirdOriTrack: a new video-tracking program for orientation research with migratory birds

  • Rachel Muheim
  • Ian Henshaw
  • Sissel Sjöberg
  • Mark E. Deutschlander
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 91-105
Publication/Series: Journal of Field Ornithology
Volume: 85
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Experimental research on the orientation of migratory songbirds is traditionally conducted using orientation funnels or automatic registration cages that record the directional activity of individual birds on paper or a computer. Most traditionally used funnel and cage designs do not permit investigators to observe detailed behavior of the birds and, therefore, we have gained little insight into the actual behavior of birds while they are exhibiting migratory restlessness and making directional choices. Such behavior can only be studied by direct observation or by video filming. Here, we present BirdOriTrack, a video-tracking program for extracting time-resolved, positional data of birds ( and potentially other animal species) to determine their orientation relative to the center of a circular cage/funnel. With relatively inexpensive cameras, recording equipment, and cages, orientation experiments can easily be conducted and analyzed using BirdOriTrack. The program is designed to be flexible, allowing analysis of orientation behavior of birds of any size in different cage designs and in both controlled laboratory settings and field-based studies. To demonstrate the program's utility, we show the results of preliminary field experiments on several species of migratory birds captured at a migration monitoring station. BirdOriTrack is freely available at


  • Zoology
  • migration
  • migratory restlessness
  • orientation
  • passerines
  • video-tracking program


  • CAnMove
  • ISSN: 0273-8570
Rachel Muheim
E-mail: rachel [dot] muheim [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 31 93



Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden