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Bird and bat tracking and radar

The National Wildlife Management Centre (NWMC) at APHA can provide expert tracking and radar surveying of birds and bats to support ecological impact assessments (EcIAs) for renewable energy or other major developments, bird strike assessment at airports, or ecological research.

APHA Scientific have decades of experience in tracking methods including
GPS tags, radio-tagging, and radar. We are experienced in delivering projects to government and commercial clients, including large renewable developments, onshore and offshore, in the UK and internationally.

As well as experienced field workers, our staff include expert ornithologists and bat scientists, GIS specialists, and experts in modelling and collision risk assessment.

We can provide a range of services or combination of services to suit your project’s requirements, from data collection and data analysis through to impartial, evidence based, and easy-to-understand reports.

Our services include:


Putting tags on birds or bats allows us to gather detailed information on the movements of individual animals. This is a rapidly expanding field, and a number of tagging options are available, depending on budget, species and study requirements.

These include GPS tags, satellite tags, data loggers, and radio tags. Depending on the tags used, even long distance migratory movements can be tracked.

Experienced, licensed staff are needed to capture animals and attach tags, and data requires expert analysis. APHA scientific have a wide range of experience with tagging projects, and our field staff include experienced and licensed bird and bat handlers.


Radar is still the best way of accurately and objectively recording large numbers of bird or bat movements in a given area, and as such is particularly suited to EcIA and airport work. Radar has the advantage of being able to continuously record movements, day and night, in all weathers, unlike human observers. Given that collision risk is highest when visibility is low and weather conditions are poor,this is a considerable advantage. Radar-recorded flight paths are accurate and free of observer bias. Radar can also ‘see’ further than human observers. Our mobile units can record movements within an area up to 22 km across and up to 1.4 km in altitude.

Radar data can be supplemented with visual observations (groundtruthing), tagging studies, auditory recordings, thermal imaging, or laser range-fi nders, depending on the needs of the project.

APHA’s mobile units are equipped with horizontal and vertical radars and can be deployed short or long-term in a variety of settings. Our team have years of experience of collecting and analysing radar data from a wide
range of projects in the UK and abroad.

Survey and monitoring

APHA Scientific can also provide expert services in a variety of bird and bat survey and monitoring techniques. These include terrestrial and marine surveys and ringing and marking projects. These can be provided as stand-alone services or in combination with tracking methods.

Expert science

Our service includes expert analysis and interpretation of data, with results provided to you in clear, easily understood reports.

APHA provides an expert, impartial service based on sound scientific evidence and decades of experience in wildlife research and management.

Monitoring bats with radar (in collaboration with Natural England)

Proving trial for use of radar to monitor bat movements. APHA are the first organisation in the UK to monitor bats with mobile radar units. Bats were detected up to 1km in altitude which is impossible with conventional techniques.

See the bird and bat tracking radar leaflet.

To discuss your requirements please contact our Wildlife Team

Tel: +44 (0) 208 026 2492

Page last modified: 14 December, 2018