Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Bird movement

Coastal areas are important for many birds. Since the distribution of birds is highly dynamic in time and space, monitoring of bird movements over vast areas is a major challenge.  We follow the birds with traditional colour-ring programs and advanced tracking technology such as GPS bird tracking technology (GPS-GSM trackers) and WATLAS bird tracking (using Time-of-Arrival principle).   

Shorebird tracking

In June and July, shorebirds breed in the arctic. The rest of the year, they live in coastal areas of western Europe in search of food and safety. The Wadden Sea is an important and unique site for many shorebirds. Some species use the Wadden Sea as a staging site, others stay here almost year-round. By tracking shorebirds on their migration and within the Wadden Sea, we will understand why the Wadden Sea is so important to them.  > Read more

Spoonbill tracking

On the basis of 25 years of observations of colour-ringing juvenile birds, throughout their wintering range, we discovered that adult spoonbills are very faithful to their wintering areas.  We investigate the mechanisms driving the decision to migrate to these areas by equipping young spoonbills with GPS-GSM-transmitters. This allows us to track the birds on their first southward migration and to collect information.  > Read more 

Gull tracking

Gulls are not known as migratory birds. Yet, they abandon their breeding grounds almost each year and shift their distribution in a SW direction to winter in the south of The Netherlands.  In 2006, we started a research project in which the breeding biology, foraging ecology and demography of Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull were investigated in a colony on Texel using GPS tracking techniques.  > Read more