Radar System

M.A.R.S. - Merlin Avian Radar System

A radar system is an object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, location and velocity of objects.

It can be used to detect aircrafts, ships, spacecrafts, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations and terrain.

Our radar system was specially developed for bird tracking.


  • Autonomous System

    It can use commercial power or make use of its built-in petrol generator, capable of providing all the power it needs. The generator is also used as a backup when commercial power is lost.

  • High accuracy
    Our system uses a combination of 2 antennas which can provide a wide range of solutions.
    Horizontal scanning is performed using a Kelvin Hughes 200W Solid-State, S band antenna.
    Vertical scanning is performed, using a JRC, 25W magnetron X band antenna.

  • Multisampling Work Mode (24/7, night/day...)
    It can be used to accommodate different data collection periods, ex: full month (non stop) or daily period (night or day).
    Can also operate only one of the antennas, if necessary.

  • Large Sampling Area
    Its sampling areas are fully customized depending on bird size/species in the project goal.
    By default, 12 km width and 5 km height has been used for medium to big size species detection.

  • Data Analytics
    Provides all kinds of recorded reports, as well as real time data which is available remotely.
    Typical output consist of data spreadsheets combined with important event's location.

  • Biological Database
    The bird tracking software, specially tuned for horizontal and vertical bird detection, writes all data inside a database management system.
    This system is a powerful Microsoft SQL Server 2008 RQ, which is one of the best commercial software available.

How It Works

  • Data Collection
    Consists of converting the radar signal bird tracking and storing all data inside the database.
    The radar must be properly setup in order to achieve the best tracking results for a specific location.

    Depending on the weather, among other reasons, the bird tracking results will vary.

  • Groundtruth
    Consists of naming what the radar has seen (real time or recorded) which include all data (biological or not).
    Can be done by one element or multiple teams using remote access.
    This data is important when performing any kind of biological modeling like: geospatial modeling, risk, bird count...


  • Data Analytics
    Important for data collection quality control and others used for biological modeling.
    Specially developed for linear infrastructures ex: protect crops and avoid bird strike.


Case Studies

Case study #1

Gardunha Wind Farm, Fundão, Portugal

Requirement (objective)

The major goal was to detect birds and bats around the radar using a 3.6 Kms radius.

An uninterrupted survey was done while the project lasted.


Around the radar it was possible to identify birds and bats, as well as "unknown" targets.

It was possible to map the bird movement around the wind farm.

The amount of clutter generated was a challenge while analyzing the wind farm.

Case study #2

Rice fields, Porto Alto, Portugal

Requirement (objective)

Big size birds destroy the rice fields, which produce a special kind of rice, known locally as "baby rice".

The major goal was to detect big size birds arriving to the rice fields around the radar, using a 3.6 Kms radius.

All bird movement was reported to the security team, which applied dissuasive measures (air cannons).

This was particularly important as bird movements also occur at night when security team isn't able to detect them.


Birds where detected while the security was applying dissuasive measures during night and day.

Using biological modeling, it was possible to provide an accurate daytime period with more bird activity.