Iowa joins community to trace animal and bug migration patterns

A dragonfly. (Motus photograph.)

Iowa is now a part of a global community of radio reception stations that stretches from Canada to South America to trace long-distance migration patterns of birds, bats and bugs.

It is known as the Motus Wildlife Monitoring System, “motus” is Latin for motion, stated Anna Buckardt Thomas, an avian ecologist with the Iowa Division of Pure Assets.

“The purpose of this method is to trace small animals with massive actions,” stated Baccard Thomas. “So it is targeted on birds and bats, dragonflies, which have additionally been placed on monarchs earlier than, so the dimensions of the animal will decide the dimensions of the tag it will probably decide up and when the tag will emit a radio sign.”

Iowa now has seven terminals unfold throughout the state, with eight coming on-line this fall, with plans so as to add 4 to 5 extra. Trackers in Iowa have just lately picked up alerts from birds migrating from Jamaica and at the same time as distant as Columbia.

“The system is principally built-in with another researcher within the hemisphere,” Buckardt Thomas stated. “Individuals are utilizing the identical frequency from Central and South America all the best way to Canada. So anybody can put a tag on a chook or a bat or an insect and if it travels via Iowa it is going to be detected.”

Thus far, the Iowa DNR has not flagged any flying creatures, however that is one thing deliberate within the close to future. At present, specialists on the Iowa Monitoring Station are carefully watching or listening to hundreds of creatures tagged elsewhere. Whereas we could already know loads concerning the huge image of migration patterns, Baccard Thomas stated the stations will assist us study extra about the place varied species spend their winters and the threats they could face.

“Studying extra about particular person species and particular person animals will inform us how well being impacts migration,” she stated. “How completely different useful resource availability impacts migration, actual flight speeds and finer migration patterns, which can assist us be extra environment friendly defend these species.”

Iowa’s seven monitoring stations are positioned in elevation-compliant areas and are positioned on buildings owned or leased by the Iowa DNR. There’s one in Lewis and Clark State Park and 6 extra close to the cities of Earlyleigh, Boone, Swisher, McGregor, Vapero and Burlington.

The state started putting in the stations in August 2021.

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