UvA-BiTS database passes 10 million record mark

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The UvA-BiTS database continues to grow exponentially – and as we head into spring and summer many more new migrants will be coming in so the number of records will continue to grow.

Over the past year the database has amassed more of everything (records, projects, species, etc.), but most notably the geographic area covered by birds tagged with UvA-BiTS GPS devices continues to expand: northeast into Russia and south into South Africa. In addition, we see an increase in the use of migratory flyways across Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

GPS point data of all UvA-BiTS measurements collected 24 May 2008 through 7 May 2013.

We are also seeing an increase in the number of species being studied under different projects and by different institutions, including Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Montagu’s Harriers, Griffon Vultures and Stone Curlews. We hope that this will result in fresh perspectives and new opportunities for larger studies and collaborations between projects.

Finally, having so much data to analyze, we couldn’t resist taking a look at some of the record breakers!

The South Africa “team” conducts field work.

• The individual bird with the greatest total number of GPS fixes is one of Megan Murgatroyd’s Verreaux’s Eagles in South Africa with over 368,000 fixes recorded since its track session first began in September 2012. High-resolution GPS data is collected every 3 seconds to be able to analyze this individual’s behavior and habitat and compare it to that of other individuals living in the area.

• The individual bird who is winning the test of time is a male Lesser Black-backed Gull (ID 317) being studied by Kees Camphuysen and Judy Shamoun-Baranes. With 1,068 days of data collected between May 2010 and April 2013, this bird has been tracked for the greatest number of days (i.e. total number of days with at least one fix recorded, regardless of gaps which were not included in the calculation).

• Adriaan Dokter and Kees Oosterbeek can claim the prize for the project with the greatest number of tracked days for their research on Oystercatchers in the Wadden Sea. They have over 16,000 days of data which they have collected from 67 tagged Oystercatchers, meaning they also hold the record for the greatest number of tagged individuals for a project (not surprisingly).

To read more about these projects and many others, see the Project and Highlight pages here on the UvA-BiTS website.

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