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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017 / Project RAVen: Validating radar technologies to study near- and offshore bird migration

Robin Brabant, Maarten Reyniers, Maryna Lukach, Nicolas Vanermen, and Steven Degraer (2017)

Project RAVen: Validating radar technologies to study near- and offshore bird migration


The Belgian part of the North Sea is part of a very important seabird migration route through the Southern North Sea, which makes it an ideal area to study bird migration. Because of its shape, this part of the North Sea acts as a migration bottleneck, concentrating birds during migration. This study aims at cross-validating bird detection by meteorological and bird radars, mainly focusing on offshore and coastal migration, and suggesting refinements to the bird detection algorithms of both weather and dedicated bird radars. The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI) uses three C-band weather radars for meteorological observations, one of which is located in Jabbeke, at only a few kilometers from the Belgian coast. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) has installed a Merlin bird radar (DeTect Inc.) on an offshore platform at 25km from the coast, to study the impact of offshore wind farms. The Merlin radar system consists of two identical radar antennas, one scanning in the horizontal pane and one in the vertical. They are operating at a range of 7.4km and 1.85km respectively, thus providing high resolution data. The measurements of the bird radar and the weather radar in Jabbeke are overlapping, which offers a unique situation to cross-validate the data of both types of radar and to extrapolate the high resolution data of the bird radar to the wider spatial scale of the weather radar. RBINS and RMI are joining forces in a two year project called RAVen (RAdar registrations of bird migration Validation through an interdisciplinary approach). It runs until mid-September 2018 and is funded by the Belgian Science Policy. First results (from spring 2016) already show a good correlation between the number of birds detected by both radars.
Abstract of an Oral Presentation or a Poster
Poster presented at the aeroecology conference in Rome (23-24 February 2017)
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Natural Environment
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a poster (pdf)