CORDIS - EU research results

Elucidating continental-scale patterns of bird migration with weather radars

Project description

The ABC's of bird migration

Bird migration is shaped by the search for food as well as geography and weather conditions. The EU-funded Migration Radar project aims to use weather radars and a small-scale biological radar to collect data on bird and insect migration. The purpose is to describe the relation of weather conditions, topography and insect movement to bird migration. It will also examine the impact of winds on the flight behaviour of both birds and insects and describe the night flight migration process from beginning to end.


Migration is a wide-spread phenomenon which allows animals of many different taxa to take advantage of seasonal variation in resource abundance . Radar is a powerful tool to observe and track migratory flights. In this action I will use the existing network of weather radars to investigate bird migration behaviour in relation to topography, weather and insect migration. A unique aspect of this action is that I will have access not only to the weather radar data, but also to complementary bird ringing and individual bird tracks, as well as data on insect migration from a small scale biological radar. The weather radars will provide data on bird migration patterns at the continental-scale; the ringing and tracking data will provide species composition and individual behaviour at specific points along the flyway; and the small-scale biological radars will provide more detailed information on insect and bird migration patterns at a specific site. Together this will give us a unique overview of the flux and behaviour of migratory animals across Europe, something that has never before been possible. Together this will give me a unique overview of the flux and behaviour of migratory animals across Europe, something that has never before been possible. The objectives of the work packages in this action will be: WP 1: To describe the flux of bird migration in relation to weather and topography across the European flyway, and relate this to insect migration, ringing and tracking data along the flyway. WP 2: To describe the flight behaviour of bird and insect migrants in relation to winds at both a continental and local scale, testing theoretical predictions of how migrants should use winds optimally. WP 3: To describe the nightly initiation and termination of bird migration across latitudes and how it changes with the seasonal progression of migration.


Net EU contribution
€ 219 312,00
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 219 312,00