Tracing Nature was founded in 2012 as a non-profit organization by three friends, all passionate about the chatter of the Nightjar and bitten by its mysterious way of life. For several years now they have been investigating the environment of this camouflage king, also known as the Goat Milker.
But now their forces and knowledge are officially joined to further discover the hidden life of this bird. Thanks to the experience with radio telemetry, and the Nightjar itself, important results have already been achieved. New knowledge was gained about this little known species. For example, males turned out to have multiple singing posts and the birds surprisingly went further in search of food than previously believed.
Would you like to get to know the Nightjar yourself better? Are you curious about his camouflage skills? Then follow us and enter their mysterious way of life.
Doing research on the life of a bird that is almost invisible is not easy. Radio telemetry helps us achieving this goal. In order to apply this technique you need two things: a radio tag and a receiver. You can compare this with episodes on TV where researchers in Africa try to track lions in the African savannah. The ratiotags sends out a signal with a unique frequency. The receiver with antenna catches these signals so the researchers hear a 'beeb' signal which he uses to locate the animals.
It is obvious you can not equip a Nightjar with a Lion's transmitter. That's why we use mini radio tags to track our birds. We use superglue to attacht the radio tag to the central tail feather of the Nightjar. Next, we can use the receiver and the antenna to locate and follow our birds. Radio telemetry allows us to learn more about the hidden life of Nightjars: where do they sleep, where do they forage and where do they breed,...
The battle against the loss of biodiversity is a hot topic for years now. That's why numerous actions in the field have been taken to restore and improve the life of threatened and less threatened species. But despite all good intentions monitoring of species and gaining scientific information about the needs of these species is often not included. And at this point Tracing Nature wants to give a helping hand.
Tracing Nature wants to do research on the life of hidden and mysterious species, based on scientific research methods. This information will be transferred to nature managers whom than can develop accurate management actions to maintain long term survival of these species.
The Nightjar, our first case-study, is an excellent example of this. The last 3 years we have discovered a lot of new information about this hidden creature. The Agency for Nature and Forest uses this information to optimize their terrain-actions that have to assure long term survival of this cryptic species.
More than birds
The research about Nightjars give us much information about the life of - and world this mysterious creature is living in. But indirectly this knowledge gives us also information about the other fauna and flora that is connected to the habitat Nightjars are living in. That is why people refer to the Nightjar as an 'Umbrella species'.
Small scale heath- and dune restoration in forrested areas is a welcoming gift for Nightjar populations. It creates new breadinglocations for them. But also other species like blue-winged grasshopper, cross-leaved heath, common lizard, smooth snake and serotinous bat florish thanks to these newly created habitats. The reasearchers, that work on this project also write down and report every remarcable observation. This way we try to promote the development of new habitats for multiple species to live in.
Tracing Nature does not want to focus their research only on Nightjars. We want to share our knowledge and expertise with others. This way we hope to do research on species that are not well know so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the presense of them.. Because, measuring things is knowing things and we do this vor more biodiversity!