Track the birds’ movements on the map to the right—open the map and click on a point for location details.

****The first generation of these units (placed on raptors between August 2012 and September 2013) are experiencing technical difficulties, and may not come back online. The units used from December 2013 onward have been updated and improved.

GPS and GSM (cell phone) technologies are not new—but they have only lately been combined into a new transmitter that aids wildlife research. This device utilizes GPS technology that is similar to a hand-held or car GPS unit, and uses cell phone networks to e-mail us the GPS points of the hawk’s locations. A solar cell recharges the battery, so the unit can function for up to two years.

GSM units don’t provide as many locations per day as our traditional radiotelemetry research, which can track a bird constantly throughout the day. However, with this unit, we can get data for a much longer period of time. Location data for a hawk may not be available if she is out of cell range, or if cloud cover or other impediments block a good GPS reading.

Currently, two second-generation units are functioning—one was placed on a juvenile female Red-tailed Hawk, “Juanita,” banded in the Headlands on Dec. 4, 2013. She has gone south to Palo Alto so far—see her pink points on the map. “Kenya,” a second-year Redtail, was banded on Dec. 12 and has gone north to Point Reyes. Her points on the map are dark orange. We look forward to seeing where these hawks roam!

Earlier in 2013, four juvenile female Red-tailed Hawks were tagged with the first generation transmitters. “Fargo” (turquoise points on the map) was caught on Aug. 26, 2013 and remained local, hanging out in various parks in San Francisco—her points on the map are turquoise. Sadly, Fargo was picked up by Animal Control in San Francisco (location unknown) in November, and died on the way to Peninsula Humane Society. We are waiting for final results from the necropsy. “Guess” (green) was tagged on Aug. 30, 2013 and traveled north and then east around the bay. "Harley" (yellow) was caught on Sept. 12, 2013 and has headed north fast! "Ilianna" (blue) was caught Sept. 13 and headed to the east bay after a few days in Marin. The points on the map show their locations until the units stopped reporting.

In 2012, four juvenile female Red-tailed Hawks and one juvenile female Peregrine Falcon were tracked using GSM transmitters. Of them, Augusta and Delilah have been heard from most recently, the other three were last heard from in autumn 2012.

More information about GSM transmitters (PDF) >>

Contact Information

Chris Briggs