Bald Head Island Conservancy

Notes From the Field: The Motus Tower Turns One

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A Northern cardinal flies over the Motus Tower

Happy Birthday, Motus Tower! One year ago on March 15th, we installed our Motus Tower on our campus. Motus, or Latin for “movement,” is the name given to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, an international collaborative research network. The tower, standing at 36 feet tall with three antennae, is a collaboration with UNCW’s Danner Lab & Cape Fear Bird Observatory. It utilizes automated radio telemetry to learn more about migratory animals, from birds to bats to butterflies. Our former Coastal Scientist, Lauren Schaale, began our Motus research with the island’s migratory birds.

We are continuously grateful to donors and Life Members, Jim and Devon Brown, for funding the installation of this tower.

In celebration of the data it has gathered and all that it has taught us far, let’s look at a few highlights from the past year!

  • Our first detection was a Painted bunting (PABU) on April 22, 2022. The bunting was originally banded on June 1st, 2021!
  • A few other detections included Lesser yellowlegs, a Purple Martin, and an American Kestrel.
  • Our most recent detection was a special Painted bunting banded and tagged in 2022 by Evangelyn Buckland from Cape Fear Bird Observatory and Lauren Schaale!

Visit to fly along with our research on Bald Head Island’s migratory birds.


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