Research: Radar Aeroecology

Cecilia Nilsson The Cornell Lab May 15, 2019

Special issue on Radar Aeroecology 

As you know, one of the main methods we use to study birds here at BirdCast is radar. Radar has been used to study animal movements for a long time, but recent advances has greatly increased its use and lead to a new wave of research and applications of radar aeroecology.

The BirdCast team has been involved in publishing a special issue of the scientific journal Ecography on the topic of radar aeroecology. In it we, together with lots of other authors from around the world, take a deep dive into the hows and whys of radar aeroecology. It is made up by nine, fully open access, papers:

Editorial: Taking radar aeroecology into the 21stcentury

In the editorial we briefly describe the history of radar aeroecology and give a short summary of the papers making up the special issue.

bioRad: biological analysis and visualization of weather radar data

This paper gives a detailed description of how to use the r-package “bioRad” to extract and analyze animal movements from weather radar data.

The grand challenges of migration ecology that radar aeroecology can help answer

In this review some of the open questions in migration ecology are outlined and it is discussed how radar can, and has, been used to answer these questions.

Revealing patterns of nocturnal migration using the European weather radar network

For the first time ever,  the flow of nocturnal migration across part of Europe is shown using the European weather radar network.

Cross‐calibration of different radar systems for monitoring nocturnal bird migration across Europe and the Near East

By comparing weather radar data to data from radars that are dedicated to tracking biology, this paper validates the weather radar data from the European weather radar network in five different regions.

Aeroecology meets aviation safety: early warning systems in Europe and the Middle East prevent collisions between birds and aircraft

This review paper describes how radar aeroecology has been used to develop systems for bird strike avoidance, mainly for military applications.

Perspectives and challenges for the use of radar in biological conservation

Radar can be a powerful tool for conservation of flying animals. How is discussed in this review, together with recent examples from different types of radar stations.

Size matters in quantitative radar monitoring of animal migration: estimating monitored volume from wingbeat frequency

Determining number of animals in radar data can be challenging. This paper highlights how the size of the animal affects how far away it is detectible by some radar stations, and there by the surveyed volume will differ for different sized animals. A solution using wing beat to determine size of the animal is suggested.

Environmental effects on flying migrants revealed by radar

Flying animals are very much at the mercy of weather and winds. This paper reviews how radar has been used to investigate how flying animals react to and use different weather conditions.