Last modified: 30 June 2016
A new project to find out where migrant birds forage in Northern Ireland has taken flight, thanks to a partnership between RSPB Northern Ireland, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Northern Ireland Swift Group.
In a first for conservation science in Northern Ireland, this summer dozens of swifts will be fitted with tiny GPS ‘backpacks’ in a bid to shed light on key feeding areas- something which has previously been impossible to monitor.
During June and July, experts will safely re-capture the swifts, some of which have been previously tagged as part of a BTO and NI Swift Group migration study, to fit them with newly-developed miniature tracking devices which weigh less than one gram.
Being used for the first time in Ireland, and building on work carried out by the BTO over the previous two summers, these devices will record the locations of the swifts at approximately hourly intervals with an accuracy of just a few metres, revealing the feeding behaviour of nesting swifts in unprecedented detail.