FaunaScan MR2

We took over a decade of experience as the market leader for ornithological radars to create the most capable biomonitoring radar on the market. The evolution of our BirdScan product line extends its capabilities from birds to bats and insects and comes with the first FMCW radar specifically developed for aerial biomonitoring. Discover how the FaunaScan MR2 will redefine the standard for research and active curtailment solutions.

Use Cases

For Researchers

Expanding from birds and bats to insects combined with the most comprehensive set of analytics on the market make the FaunaScan MR2 an essential tool for anyone researching aerial fauna.

For Wind Parks

Achieving regulatory compliance in the protection of migratory birds has never been more efficient and reliable thanks to the FaunaScan MR2. Leverage our extensive experience in planning, integrating and operating active curtailment solutions both on- and offshore to streamline your approval processes.

For Environmental Impact Assessments

Bring your Environmental Impact Assessment to success by gathering reliable data in complex ecosystems with ease thanks to the FaunaScan MR2. Benefit from an existing, comprehensive set of statistics or perform your own thanks to full access to all system-level data.

For Regulators

FaunaScan MR2 allows decision making based on scientifically validated data. Accurate quantification of bird migration has been proven by its predecessor BirdScan MR1 which is widely recognized as the measurement tool for the aerial fauna.

General Description

FaunaScan MR2 represents the next evolution in radar systems for quantitative research on aerial fauna. Specifically designed from the ground up for aerial fauna monitoring, this system marks a breakthrough in performance for aerial bio-monitoring. It delivers unprecedented accuracy in quantification and classification, providing new possibilities for bird, bat, and insect measurements with a portable, lightweight, low-power system designed for 24/7 deployment.

With real-time data processing, recording and. Comprehensive analytics for each of the millions of individual objects registered annually are stored both on the system locally and optionally in the cloud.

Summary of the most important features:

  • Advanced Detection Capabilities: Discerns between bird groups (waders, passerines, swift-type birds), bats and insects.
  • High-Performance X-Band FMCW Radar: Detects small passerines up to an altitude of 1000 meters and larger birds over several thousand meters.
  • Real-time System: Data processing, recording, feature calculation, classification and quantification all happen in real-time and all for real-time decision making.
  • Detailed Micro-Signature Data: Provides signature, micro-doppler signature, detected features for each of the millions of detected objects annually.
  • Continuous Micro-Doppler Signature: Unlike rotating antenna systems, FaunaScan MR2 acquires a continuous micro-doppler signature, allowing for species-level feature detection.
  • Comprehensive Object Analytics: Captures altitude, speed, direction, wing-flapping pattern and frequency, polarization pattern (shape features), size estimation (radar-cross section), micro-doppler features and more.
  • Exceptional Distance Resolution: With a resolution of 1.5 meters, FaunaScan MR2 allows for individual bird detection even during dense migration nights.
  • Calibrated Accuracy: The system’s precise calibration ensures accurate size estimation and quantification, providing highly accurate Migration Traffic Rate (MTR) measurements.
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes with an extensive suite of pre-installed features, ready for immediate use.
  • Deployable in Remote Areas: Its small footprint and low power consumption makes it ideal for remote deployments.

Highlights

Birds, Bats and Insects

While previous generations were primarily focused on ornithology and chiropterology, the advanced radar technology of the MR2 significantly expands its capabilities to include the field of entomology. A comprehensive set of metrics ensures maximum value from any measurment campaign.

In-depth analytics built in

The MR2 offers an extensive set of metrics and statistics, allowing you an unprecedented level of detail from the accurate quantification of macro events down to the behaviour of individual targets.

A purpose built radar

While radar-based biomonitoring in the past relied on meteorological and navigational radars, we set out to develop a bespoke radar for the FaunaScan MR2. The result is a lighter, smaller and yet more capable radar unit.

A fully integrated system

Lighter, lower power draw, possibility to power directly from solar panels and a wide range of communications interfaces makes the MR2 well suited to a wide range of scenarios ranging from permanent installations to temprary setups in remote places and harsh conditions.

Remote Management Solution

Manage your devices from the comfort of your desk thanks to our extensive suite of remote management utilities. Our proprietary cloud interface makes gaining insights on measurment data and system states easier than ever. Redundant communications interfaces and recovery options make the MR2 ever more resilient.

Monitoring Birds, Bats and Insects

What’s up in the air?

Even in a single day there is a staggering exchange of biomass in the air and birds, bats and insects are registered by the radar day and night. The video below gives an impression on what is going on even in the short time span of only 48 hours. Each single line or banana shaped object belongs to a bird, bat or insect and is tracked individually – explanations follow below.

July 15th 00:00 – Birds, bats and insects at midnight

July 15th 22:00 – Insect abundance

July 16th 02:20 – Light rain

July 16th 02:25 – Heavy rain

July 16th 03:50 – Birds flying close together

July 16th 17:40 – Swifts

Extraction Biological Echo Signatures

Detailed information can be extracted for each of the millions of detected echoes each year. The example below shows 5 minutes of data with many detected echoes (from birds, bats and insects). For each object the signature, micro-doppler signature, 3D trajectory and detected features (e.g. size, wing beating frequency, speed, direction, …) and of course the classification can be extracted. The illustration below demonstrates how the individual detected objects can be selected in the data and the micro-doppler signature for this echo displayed.

Classification Powered by Machine Learning

With its high resolution FaunaScan MR2 is able to register all the objects flying over the radar individually and classify each object into a different subgroup. At the heart of our classification algorithms is a reference data set built over many years. It contains samples from many different locations to take into account different local species. Reference data was collected with great effort and many different methods, among them are optical reference data, simultaneous ultrasound measurements for bats and even insect releases with drones.

Insect release with drone and remote-controlled cage over radar:

Released insects at higher altitude typically fly back to the ground, this is visible also in the range-time plot (drone: red continuous line, insects: light blue lines originating from the drone and going down over time).

Reference data from our AC1 camera system:

Flap bounding behavior is visible in the optical track from the AC1 system and also in the corresponding micro-doppler signature from the radar. The radar micro-doppler signature from the radar is longer due to the larger surveilled volume of the radar.

Basic classification groups are birds, bats and insects. Whereas birds are subdivided further into passerine, wader, swift type and large birds. However, with the MR2 more information about each detected object is available which will allow for a more fine-grained classification.

Classification is based on many features and signals; however, some classes are easy to spot in the micro-doppler-Signature. Some examples below.

Passerine

A passerine type bird is easy to detected due to the flap-bounding type of flight, which consists of short bursts of wing beating and short pauses in between where the flaps are pulled towards the body. The rise and fall phases are clearly visible as the typical zig-zag in the micro-doppler signature.

Swift

The longer gliding phases of swift type birds with wing flapping in between are visible in the micro doppler. As opposed to passerine type birds there is less up and down movement due to the different phases.

Wader

The continuous wing beating of wader type birds is clearly visible due to the peaks in the micro-doppler signature.

Large Wader

Not only the detected size but also the low wing beating frequency of about 4 – 4.5 beats per second clearly reveal that this has to be a large species.

​​​​​​Large Bird

An example of a gliding red kite. The huge body and wings result in a unsteady backscattering visible in the micro-doppler signature.

Flock of 3 Passerines

Even the high distance resolution of 1.5 m is in rare cases not sufficient to detect the objects individually. However, due to the micro-doppler signature, the size of the flock and species group can still be determined. In the case below the micro-doppler signature indicates that the flock consists of three passerine type birds.

Bat

Due to continuous wing beating, bat signatures often look quite similar to wader signatures. However, the difference in wing motion and backscattering makes it possible to discern bats from birds.

Insect

The typical micro-doppler signature of an insect can look quite straight. In this example there is a small modulation from wing beating visible. However, the higher insect wing beat frequencies are better detected in the amplitude modulation (signature).

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Dragonfly

Usually, for a dragon or damselfly different wing beat modes are discernible in the micro doppler spectrum.

Drone

Backscattering effects from body and rotors are visible in the micro-doppler signature.

Extracted Features and In-Depth Analytics

Our commitment to provide highly detailed analytics to researchers continues with the MR2. Leveraging the capabilities of our bespoke radar, we not only enhance existing metrics from previous generations but also introduce newly developed metrics for an even more comprehensive data analysis.

Signature and Micro-Doppler Signature

Both, the signature and micro-doppler signature contain information about wing beating patterns and frequencies. However, the micro-doppler signature can extract information even in difficult signal-to-noise scenarios and allows distinction between bird groups to even higher altitudes. Apart from a more reliable wing beat pattern and frequency detection, the micro-doppler signature contains additional information like climb and sink rates of passerines.

Passerine type bird signature and micro-doppler signature comparison:

Swift type bird signature and micro-doppler signature:

Wader type bird signature and micro-doppler signature:

Insect signature und micro-doppler signature:

Two passerines signature and micro-doppler signature:

Swift type bird signature and micro-doppler signature:

Reliable Classification at High Altitudes

Even at high altitudes, the micro-doppler signature of the echo can reveal the species group.

Passerine type bird detected at an altitude of 1700 m, where the flap-bounding wing beating pattern typical of passerines is still detectable:

Wader type bird detected 2000 m above ground level (radar level). The individual wing beats and frequency are still visible:

Wing Beat Frequency

FaunaScan MR2 has the advantage of extracting the wing beat frequency from both, amplitude signature and micro-doppler signature. While there is a ambiguity between base and double the wing beat frequency in the amplitude (because the up and down movement of the wings looks similar in the amplitude) there is no such ambiguity in the micro-doppler signature.

The example shows how each wing flap corresponds to two peaks in the micro-doppler signature: one peak for the movement down (lower peak) and a second one for the movement up (upper peak).

Wing beat frequencies are of course extracted automatically from the micro doppler signature. The frequency spectrum shows automatically identified 9.4 wing beats per second which corresponds to the roughly to one wing beat cycle per 0.1 seconds from the example above.

Climb and Sink Rates

Passerine type birds ascend during wing beating phases and start to fall again during pauses. The vertical acceleration can be measured from the angle in the micro-doppler plot. In addition to the length and regularity of beat and pause phases, this feature gives new opportunities for species identification.

Passerine with ascent rate of approximately 3 m/s² for burst phases:

Passerine ascent rate of approximately 40 m/s² for burst phases:

The illustration shows the behavior of typical flap-bounding type flight of passerines, which generates the sawtooth pattern in the micro-doppler signature:

High Spatial Resolution

One key improvement of the MR2 is the distance resolution of 1.5m. The downstream benefits of this can’t be understated:

  • higher accuracy for Migration Traffic Rates
  • better estimation of flock sizes
  • better classification accuracy during dense traffic

Comparing measurements from the MR2 (left) and the MR1 (right) side to side makes these improvements immediately apparent. In the left image, we are easily able to differentiate individual flightpaths even if they overlap.

3-D Trajectories

The radar measures the 3D track of each object flying over the radar. Apart from ground speed and flight direction, more features like identifying circling objects are now possible.

Shape Features

The X-band radar can measure an elongation component in the detected insects. This allows for a reliable distinction between birds and insects and gives further information about insect species. The fully polarimetric radar can determine the heading of the insect even as it changes during flight.

Accurate Migration Traffic Rate Measurements

Migration Traffic Rate measures the number of birds crossing a reference area of 1 km width and a defined altitude interval per hour. An accurate calibration of radar systems is necessary in order to get an absolute measurement. Each MR2 radar system is calibrated and has real-time measurements of transmit power in order to estimate the monitored volume. The result is a highly precise measurement system giving accurate results for day-time and night-time.

Combining Radar and Optical Data

FaunaScan MR2 is designed to work in conjunction with the AC1 system. Data can be further enhanced by gathering exact species information during day time. The optical track and the radar track can be matched based on the trajectories to have a correspondence between the radar and optical signal.

MR2 radar system in the foreground and adjacent AC1 camera system set-up in order to have parallel radar and optical measurements:

See the example below for how the track matching works.

Micro-doppler signature from radar:

Matching optical track (slow motion):

Matching of radar data and optical track over trajectory:

Another example where wing beating activity is visible in the signature and optical track:

Micro-doppler signature:

Matching optical track (slow motion):

Matching of radar data and optical track over trajectory:

Advanced Radar Technology

Heart of the FaunaScan MR2 is a bespoke solid state, frequency modulated continuous wave radar developed by us specifically for use in biomonitoring systems. Being able to design and tune every aspect of the radar allows us to field a device that is not only unrivaled in the quantification of macro events like migration but also delivers key insights down to the behavior of individual objects.  

Transmitter and receiver are individual embedded units connected to the computational unit by cable. The units are built as solid state components, reducing maintenance need and noise. Both units are mounted to a carrier to ensure proper alignment.

The embedded computational unit processes and stores radar data in real-time, manages system telemetry and handles data synchronization to the cloud – all while being a fraction of the size of the 19” rack servers in previous generations.

Radar based biomonitoring through time

Superfledermaus Truck-mounted Superfledermaus BirdScan MT1 BirdScan MR1 FaunaScan MR2
Contraves military tracking radar Contraves military tracking radar Sperry Marine navigational radar Sperry Marine navigational radar, custom conical horn antenna FMCW radar developed by Swiss Birdradar Solution
>5000 kg >15000 kg >2000 kg 160 kg 50 kg
First radar in use by the Swiss Ornithological Institute Adaption of the “Superfledermaus” to perform measurments in the Mauritanian desert by the Swiss Ornithological Institute First system designed specifically for ornithological research. The radar is installed in a large radom on a shipping container First ornithological radar commercially sold to the public The new standard for observing aerial fauna

 

A fully integrated system

We designed the FaunaScan MR2 as a feature-rich, fully integrated system which lets you focus on your research and gives you flexibility in the field. This makes the FaunaScan MR2 a perfect fit for any scenario from permanent installations to temporary off-grid setups. Some of the standout features are:

Compact and lightweight design: With dimensions of 880x400x840 mm and a weight of only 50kg, the FaunaScan MR2 is significantly easier to transport and install in remote location than comparable systems.

Low power requirements: With a typical power draw of 370W in 230VAC mode or 170W in 24VDC mode, the FaunaScan MR2 uses significantly less power than previous generations.

Solar ready: A 24VDC powering option comes stock with the FaunaScan MR2, ensuring seamless integration of solar panels as a power source.

Integrated UPS: The integrated UPS supports measurment functionality during power losses of up to 10 minutes.

Extensive Communications Options: The FaunaScan MR2 comes with redundant LTE interfaces as well as a choice of wired connectors. Should the network still fail, a backup gateway allows remote control and system health checks including even some measurement statistics. Satellite communications and fiber optics come optional.

Detailed internal sensor data: A host of internal hard- and software sensors make sure that the FaunaScan MR2 is operating within specifications. Telemetry is actively managed and alerts are triggered should anything out of the ordinary occur.

Remote Management Solution

Cloud Management Platform

Building on a strong base, the cloud management platform has been updated for the MR2. Explore live and historic data, analyze the composition of target classifications, check on curtailment times and system messages from any web browser. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing your data is stored safely in an off-site backup.

Status and Recovery Messaging

Status and recovery messaging is handled over a tertiary connection by an independent internal gateway, ensuring maximum availability. We’ve updated status reports to include more detail about current operational states including some measurement statistics. Status messaging is now available over the web, giving you the possibility to use it from any device connected to the internet.

Technical Specifications

General Specifications

AC input characteristics

230 V @50Hz

370W typical, 14A line protection

DC input characteristics (optional)

24 VDC (climate unit not supported)

170W typical, 20A line protection

Dimensions (WxHxD) 880 x 840 x 400 mm
Weight 50 kg

Radar Specifications

Type Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave
Center frequency options 8.8 GHz, 8.9 GHz, 9.25 GHz, 9.4 GHz
Bandwidth 50 MHz, 100 MHz
Emitted power (EIRP) 60 dBm
Antenna gain 20 dBi
Beam width 25°
Instrumented range 6000 m

Network & Communications

Ethernet ports 2x RJ45 (LAN, WAN)
Wireless connections

LTE1 (Wireless data connection)

LTE2 (Remote status & recovery)

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac Wave 2

Satellite communications on request

Windpark communications interface OPC-UA, IEC104, other on request
Remote management utilities SBRS cloud interface, SBRS text-based status & recovery, SSH, RDP over VPN

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