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By Jeremy Halka, IBO Research Biologist

This year we worked with MPG Ranch, in Missoula, MT, to continue expanding the Motus network in the Intermountain West. We installed 4 new stations in Idaho (now totaling 14), 1 in southeast Washington, 2 in eastern Oregon, and we will continue filling in gaps into 2022.

Almost every Idaho station detected at least one bird this year, with many having multiple detections of different species, including a few bats!

A landscape view of grassy open habitat. A solar panel and antenna are in the foreground, with dramatic gray storm clouds in the background
A remote Motus station at Malheur NWR Baca Lake. Photo Credit: Jeremy Halka

This year our Idaho stations detected a total of 7 Swainson’s Thrushes, 8 Western Sandpipers, 7 Common Poorwills, 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls, and 2 Silver-haired Bats. The poorwills, owls, and bats were all tagged by MPG Ranch near Missoula. The sandpipers and thrushes were banded by different projects mostly near Vancouver, Canada. Both Silver-haired bats, one Swainson’s Thrush, and one Western Sandpiper were actually detected by multiple of our Idaho stations while they were migrating south this fall.

The Western Sandpiper in particular had quite a few detections throughout its journey this year: it was Motus-tagged on the California coast in spring, detected shortly after along the coast of Washington and Canada, finally to be detected later in the summer in Alaska. As it began its fall migration, it was detected in interior British Columbia, and then by three of our stations in central and eastern Idaho (see detection map below). Very cool!!

the map shows a point in california, a point along the washington coast, and two points along vancouver island during spring migration. Then during fall migration it shows a point along the coast of southern alaska, then a point in southern british columbia, and three points along the snake river plain in Idaho
Map of Western Sandpiper Motus Detections in 2021. Image generated on

Please visit for more information on the Motus network.

This article is part of our 2021 end of the year newsletter! View the full newsletter here, or click “older posts” below to read the next article.

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