GPS tagging is an increasingly common form of monitoring which is used for wildlife research and conservation. It allows us to follow an animal’s movements within metres of its exact location with a high degree of precision (to within a few meters' accuracy).
Monitoring Barn Owls using GPS tags is necessary due to their large home ranges (up to 5,000 hectares) and nocturnal behaviour restricting observations. Tagging can provide new information on Barn Owl behaviour that cannot be captured through traditional methods, such as dispersal, ranging, and foraging habits.
Under licence, the Owl Box Initiative scientists will be monitoring a number of Barn Owls within the study sites through GPS tagging; the tracking data collected will contribute to a much broader knowledge of Barn Owl habitat use in relation to Agr-environment Schemes, with the aim of improving management advice regarding the provision of suitable habitat and to further inform the development of future policy.
Example of a GPS tag mounted on a bird under licence, to gather its movement data.