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Partial Migration Group

Hello Everyone,

This is the web page to inform radio amateurs about our partial migration project using European Blackbirds migrating to southern Europe. We need your radio skills to find our migratory birds!


Project Description

We are researchers from the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany and we are interested in partial migration of European Blackbirds. What is partial migration? Well, basically it is when some individuals of a population decide to migrate whereas others decide to stay residents in a given area. We are fascinated by these phenomena and we want to know why this is happening. We study a population of Blackbirds in southern Germany, in the Lake Constance region and every autumn our birds start their migration towards the west, overwintering in France or Spain. Each year we tag 100 blackbirds with VHF radio transmitters within the 149-150 MHz range. We follow these birds through their journey using radio tracking cars and even an aircraft equipped with antennas and radio telemetry receivers. Last year for example, we could follow some birds all the way near Dijon, where unfortunately we lost the signal. After there we think some of them could fly south (southern France, northern Spain) or some might go to the Atlantic coast, but we do not know exactly where they go.

Because of the huge territory to cover it is very difficult for us to find the migratory birds and know where they are spending the winter.For this reason, we are launching this project; with your help, we believe that we can make this possible. How could you help us? Simply: You can join us in the search for these birds using your radio skills by checking frequencies from home or even hit the road and start searching if you want. It's like a fox hunt, but with real moving birds instead!

How is this going to work?

Through this website we are going to keep you posted about when migration starts, which birds are migrating, their VHFrequencies, departure direction and where they potentially might be. If you are able to receive a signal from a specific bird, please let us know by filling out the form with as much data as possible, to best help us look for the bird.

From now on, we thank you for your support and help and also hope this will be a nice opportunity to try your radio skills. Have fun!!

If you want to receive further information please sign in on our group or filling up a form for a e-mail list.


Submit radio frequency scanning data now!


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