Alauda 75: 265-286

15 years' satellite tracking of raptors.



15 years’ satellite tracking of raptors. Satellite telemetry has revolutionised the study of raptor migration and life histories, and will do so even more in the future. This is because the tracking systems can regularly estimate and record an individual's location worldwide over a period of several years.

To begin with we give a short overview of the development of the technical side of satellite telemetry and the present state of the art. This can be divided into three phases: the period during which only battery-powered transmitters with Doppler locating were available, the period during which solar-powered transmitters with Doppler locating were used, and finally the period during which transmitters with GPS locating could be employed (TAB. I). The paper includes project planning tips for those putting this technical equipment to use. In addition, there is an overview of the questions for which the use of this technique can provide answers or has already done so (TAB. III). Finally we report on a few highlights of our own telemetry results, based on the monitoring of 146 individuals of 14 different species which we fitted with transmitters between 1992 and 2007 (TAB. II).