One Million Data in the Air

Nestled in the southern region of Oman, along the shores of the Arabian Sea, lies Salalah, the country’s second-largest city. Here, influenced by the Indian Ocean monsoons, Salalah boasts a unique climate that sets it apart from its desert counterparts. The vibrant coral reefs and lagoons that adorn its coastline thrive in this relatively-humid haven. As winter approaches, a group of migratory birds descend upon Salalah, seeking refuge from colder climes. The symphony of wings and calls that fills the air forms up a seasonal spectacle that captivates both scientists and nature enthusiasts alike.

Birds on the beach of Salalah. Photo by StellarD, Wikimedia Commons.

In the year 2019, a team of researchers deployed a DEBUT LEGO device to Omana, a Heuglin’s Gull (Larus fuscus heuglini), in Salalah, embarking on a journey of discovery. Over the subsequent years, Omana’s flight records would recount a tale of four migrations – a journey that spans from Arabian Peninsula to the distant northern reaches of Russia and back again.

Omana with DEBUT LEGO EL26. Photo by Jan Lontkowski.

Amidst the vast expanses, Omana’s flights were meticulously documented by DEBUT LEGO, capturing the essence of its travels. This advanced technology logged over one million data points, which helped us to reconstruct the migratory process with remarkable precision. The slide below records the first migration of Omana in 2020, which lasted from April to Ocotober, covering 15,000 km.

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Omana’s migration route in 2020

Thanks to BOOST technology, under optimal daylight conditions, DEBUT LEGO is able to collect a substantial amount of data during Omana’s flights. The abundance of data translates into a valuable resource for researchers, offering a more precise understanding of the flight routes, behavioral patterns, and biological activity of their subject. As illustrated below, we can observe that within a mere span of 4 days, DEBUT LEGO successfully collected an impressive dataset, totaling nearly 7000 GNSS records.

Nearly 7000 GNSS fixes collected in 4 days

The Ecotopia platform offers a yearly-basis track display, allowing us to gain a clear perspective on the shifting migration routes of Omana over the past four years. Notably, in 2022, Omana made a noteworthy change in its wintering grounds. Instead of Salalah in Oman, it migrated southward to the eastern coast of Somalia. This shift in destination emphasizes the adaptability of these incredible migratory birds, responding to environmental cues and ensuring their survival in an ever-changing world.

Annual migration route from 2020 to 2023

Omana, together with DEBUT LEGO, is expected to start its fifth migration in April next year. Their journey will continue. Go to Ecotopia platform with our guest account if you would like to stay tuned as Omana continues to weave its incredible story through the vast skies.

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