How BirdScan systems acquire radar signals (echos) from aerial fauna

BirdScan detects migrating birds, bats, and insects by radar. Beams are emitted vertically from a static antenna across a conically-shaped field, using a wide aperture angle. The radar system emits a short pulse several hundred times per second and measures the echoes that it receives (pulse-echo method). The height of an object can be calculated from the time the echo needs to return.

Graphic of beam
Visualisation of raw echo

The raw echo can be visualized as a height x time x intensity plot. Internally this stream of information is processed in real-time to detect multiple echos simultaneously. Each individual echo is then stored on the radar’s data-system together with its associated meta-data.

Echos are short signals which contain information of fluctuations in a target’s reflectivity. For birds and bats, the wing-flapping pattern is reconstructed from the signal by SBRS Analytics Modules. This information is exploited to classify targets (e.g. bird, passerine-bird, wader-bird, insect, ground-clutter) and to estimate the wing-flapping frequency.

Wing-flapping pattern

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