Bird migration

    Year-round analyses of flight behaviour and migratory index

    Novel automated radar systems register the movements of birds all year round, 24 hours a day. During migration, migratory birds show directed flights towards their wintering grounds in autumn, or back to their breeding ground in spring. Outside the migratory periods, the radars continue to register bird echoes with great variety of flight directions. However, the transitions between periods of peak migration and “non-migratory” periods are gradual.

    The student will investigate the year-round pattern of flight directions and develop an index to determine the proportion of migratory birds of all registered echoes. He/she will use data collected by a radar operating at the Swiss Ornithological Institute for nearly two years. Applying an index on the intensity of bird movements will allow comparing between year migration intensities and relating it to weather conditions.

    The results of the master thesis will be implemented in the real-time monitoring of migration fluxes over Sempach.


    The candidate should have good computer skills, strong interest in modelling and be willing to get familiar with R-programming.

    Contact and further information

    Swiss Ornithological Institute
    Baptiste Schmid
    Seerose 1
    CH-6204 Sempach
    Tel: +41 41 462 97 72