Dr. Motti Charter

Motti Charter's picture
Ph. D
Post Doctoral fellow
My research focuses on how movement is related to breeding success, fledgling ecology, morphology, food supply, habitat (e.g., nest sites, hunting sites, roosts), predation, and competition. My principal study species, the barn owl, is one of the most researched owls in the world, mainly due to the ease of studying owl pellets and owls breeding in nest box. Even though scientists have amassed a lot of knowledge on the owls, we still do not understand how owls actually move—where and how they hunt/roost—because the owls are nocturnal. Recent technological advancements in tracking devices used to monitoring wildlife have allowed us to study the movement ecology of birds at both the individual and population levels. Here we add to a large population of barn owls (adult and young) a cutting-edge, regional animal telemetry system called ATLAS (Advanced Tracking and Localization of Animals in real-life Systems), which provides a high location rate (every two seconds) up to 6 months (we receive millions of locations every season!). I tag all the adults/nestlings in a population of 40-60 barn owl pairs and ask the following questions:

Is barn owl movement related to owl morphology (e.g., color, body measurements), diet, and breeding success?

Studying interactions between adult barn owls and conspecific attraction and/or repulsion in different habitats.

How do barn owl nestlings fledge and specifically do barn owls interact with their biological parent/siblings and/or neighboring owl adults and fledglings?

Whether movement of sympatric owls is affected by competitors (e.g., long-eared owls and barn owls) and predators (both larger owl species and Scops owls)?

Can farming practices (mechanical) and manipulation (hunting perches, vegetation height) in agriculture increase predator pressure and decrease rodent damage? Here we want to improve the owl’s ability to hunt rodent pests in ecosystem services (i.e., using birds as biological pest control of rodent pests).


Motti Charter, , Yotam Orchan, , Ran Nathan, A. Weller, , A. J. Weiss, , S. Toledo, (2016) Characterizing the accuracy of a self-synchronized reverse-GPS wildlife localization system. | The 15th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN '16), Vienna, Austria 1-12