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Grant Award Broadens Motus Network in Midwest and Neotropics

Written by Sarah Kendrick
Motus tower installation in Wisconsin

In early 2020, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) was awarded a USFWS Competitive State Wildlife Grant with 4 other state agencies and 5 non-profit or academic partners to install 57 new Motus receivers: 46 in eight Midwestern states and 11 in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

The grant also supports three research projects:

  • University of Maine’s Golden-winged Warbler tagging and tracking
  • American Kestrel tracking in Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Spring-migration tagging of Golden-winged Warblers and Wood Thrush on the wintering grounds by MDC and SELVA (Colombia)

The Midwest Migration Network has provided a solid network of support for the grant proposal and helped in its facilitation.

New receiver stations placed with this grant award will strengthen the Motus network substantially across the region and on stop-over sites and wintering grounds to provide new and accurate data on many Motus-tagged species of migratory birds including three of interest to the project’s partners: the golden-winged warbler, wood thrush and American Kestrel. The data will help inform the USFWS's status review of the Golden-winged Warbler for potential listing under the Endangered Species Act. The project will also add to the strategic Motus network in the Midwest, allowing other researchers to collaborate and collect new information on a wide variety of birds, bats, and insects identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. Motus stations are planned to be placed by spring 2022 and research projects partially funded by the grant will run through 2022.

Partners on the grant include: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Kalamazoo Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, SELVA Investigación para la Conservación en el Neotropico, University of Maine, and University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana (Illinois Natural History Survey).

We look forward to the exciting findings of the supported research projects and a strengthened network to inspire new research and support existing tagging efforts across the hemisphere!