Growing the Motus Network in Southern & Eastern WI

Written by William Mueller
FBMP Motus Tower
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve Motus Station

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, Inc. has been working on bringing an extension of the Motus Wildlife Tracking Network to southern and eastern Wisconsin. Our goal is to build a network of towers east-to-west across southern Wisconsin, and north-to-south along the Lake Michigan shoreline, from the Green Bay area southward. To make this happen, WGLBBO has been busy hosting regional meetings, attending workshops, raising funds, and working with a variety of partner organizations and individuals.

We are pleased to announce that as of summer 2019, three stations have already launched thanks to this effort, with more to come! The Motus towers in southern and eastern Wisconsin will be vital for tracking bird migration across Lake Michigan and the state of Wisconsin.

The image below shows the antenna coverage of the first three stations we have established in our southern Wisconsin Motus subnetwork. This image is a screenshot from the Motus Receiver Locations webpage, with imagery by Google.

Map of Motus Towers in WI
From southwest to north, the newest Motus towers are located at:

Thanks to Davor Grgic for a lot of help in setting up these stations!

Next to come are stations at:
  • Madison Audubon Society’s Goose Pond Sanctuary, in Columbia County
  • Milwaukee County Zoo, in Milwaukee County
  • Eagle Valley Nature Preserve, in Grant County
  • A yet-to-be-determined location, near the lower Wisconsin River, in Iowa or Sauk County


Contact Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory for more information or if you're interesting in hosting a Motus tower in Wisconsin!

Fall 2019 Migration Bird Banding Workshops

The Network’s next bird banding workshops have been scheduled for fall of 2019 and will occur at the following locations: 
  • USFWS Regional Office (classroom session) and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (field session) in Bloomington, Minnesota on September 6-8, 2019.
  • Tyson Research Center, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri on October 4-6, 2019.

An additional workshop in 2019 is being considered for the Lake Superior region.

All workshops will be led by Mark Shieldcastle of Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

Registration is free! Thank you to the USFWS Region 3 Migratory Bird Office for funding this workshop.

Why should you participate in a coordinated banding program during the migratory periods?

  1. Make your banding data more useful to scientists. Data collected in a consistent manner across regions allows scientists to ask big picture questions such as looking at annual changes in adult recruitment into populations of declining species.
  2. Work together with other banding stations and scientists to address important large-scale bird research and conservation issues.
  3. Receive technical support to address your local research questions.
  4. Help agencies and organizations make better conservation decisions based on new science-based information.

Already operating a migration banding station? 

  • You don’t need to stop doing anything you’ve done in the past. All we ask is that you add just a few new things to your routine.
  • Start your involvement in the Midwest Migration Network by participating in this or a future training workshop to learn what your station can do to participate.

What will the free workshop cover?

  • Classroom and outdoor sessions.
  • Learn new and updated methods and protocols.
  • Learn how to register your banding station.
  • Learn what to do with the data you collect. Band data will continue to go to the Bird Bandling Lab. Other data collected will be submitted to the Midwest Avian Data Center starting later this year.

To register, send an email to Mark Shieldcastle (), and copy Bill Mueller ().

More information, including registration forms, protocol, and agenda, will be sent to all inquiring.

MMN New Website Launch!

Image by Laurie Johnson

Welcome to the new home for the Midwest Migration Network! 

What is the Midwest Migration Network (MMN)? The MMN facilitates regionally-coordinated avian migration monitoring and research to address information gaps in the Midwest. Although focused primarily on landbirds, the Network welcomes anyone interested in advancing the study of the migratory ecology of birds and other animals in the Midwest.

We are excited to have you here. Be sure to check out what our Network has been up to by reading About the Midwest Migration Network and perusing Our Projects. If you are already a member, thanks for being a part of the Network. If not, you can learn more about joining the Network on our Membership page.

Finally, don't forget to check out our Resource Library for documents and links relevant to our Network. You can also help power our Network by making a Donation today!

Thanks again for visiting and we hope you return soon for more updates from the Network! Remember, it's free to join the Midwest Migration Network. With your membership you will be receive MMN updates directly to your email inbox.