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Tracking radar

Falsterbo peninsula is a well known migration hot spot where many migrating birds pass each year, especially during the autumn season. We use tracking radar at the Falsterbo peninsula, south Sweden, to track nocturnal migrants. We want to answer questions about how the topography and wind situation affect the passing migrants.

Tracking individual birds


Our radar is a tracking radar that follows individual birds. It is manually operated and small birds can be tracked at distances up to 30 kilometers and at altitudes between 100 and 5000 meters. The echoes are identified by the operator of the radar based on the appearance of the signals and wing beat frequency sampling. Species are very difficult to distinguish with the radar, but some special flight behaviors are identifiable, such as the bounding flight used by many passerines.

Position, height and speed

Radar close up
Photo: Cecilia Nilsson

When the radar is locked on to a target it records the birds’ exact position, height and speed continually. Individual birds are usually tracked for between 1 to 10 minutes as they pass the peninsula and a good night up to a hundred birds can be tracked.

Page Manager:

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