MERLIN Avian Radar System SS200e Doppler owned by the US Fish & Wildlife Service Great Lakes RegionThe MERLIN™ Avian Radar System is the most capable, proven and widely used bird radar system available for conducting bird and bat surveys, research, mortality risk analysis, habitat and migratory studies, and for long-term and operational monitoring and mitigation of risks. MERLIN technology capabilities include:

  • Risk assessment
  • Siting of new projects & expansions of existing sites
  • Migratory bird & bat studies & research
  • Habitat assessment & use analysis
  • Monitoring & control of operating sites
  • Mortality risk assessment & mitigation planning
  • Bird and bat mortality mitigation

Applications include a wide range of projects with avian mortality risk, bird control and risk management issues:

MERLIN Bird & Bat Radar Technologies

MERLIN bird radar real-time display monitorsThe MERLIN system provides the most cost-effective, scientifically-sound, and conclusive method for collection of high-quality, statistically superior data on bird and bat movements at project sites, including wind farms, solar farms, airports, landfills and mines. The MERLIN system uses technology originally developed by DeTect for the US Air Force and NASA for military aviation and space shuttle flight safety applications. MERLIN is the most advanced and proven avian radar technology available with over 100 systems currently operating worldwide. MERLIN technology is supported by DeTect's professional staff of experienced avian biologists and radar ornithologists that provides clients with the most experienced team of experts in remote sensing of birds and bats in the world - with specific expertise in design, construction and operation of bird/wildlife detection systems for aviation safety and environmental management.

All MERLIN system data is recorded and can be analyzed which includes plots of bird activityMERLIN uses state-of-the-art radar and computer techniques developed specifically for detecting and tracking the unique behavioral characteristics of birds and bats to collect data continuously and automatically under a variety of conditions generating highly accurate, detailed datasets for analysis and for use in project decision-making, planning, permitting and risk management. MERLIN is highly automated with a proven record of high operability and low maintenance in adverse environments. The system can operate 24-7 unattended and is fully remote accessible and controllable through local networks and the Internet with a range of connectivity options that include WLAN, WWAN and satellite. MERLIN systems are delivered with a full range of standard data analysis routines as well as an optional SQL server datasystem. All data are also archived to disk providing a permanent record for each project and for further post-processing and modeling with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and other programs.

MERLIN Avian Radar System euro design with CE MarkingSystems are fully self-contained with on-board control cabins, remote auto-start primary or back-up power systems, and include all hardware and software for bird and bat tracking, clutter suppression, interference rejection and data recording. Custom configurations, including fixed and offshore installations, can also be provided that integrate additional sensors such as thermal cameras, bat detectors, insect detectors, vertical profilers and acoustic monitors. DeTect provides complete system installation and user training support. Each system includes a full parts and labor warranty and MERLIN software upgrades. Systems are available for short-term rental, long-term lease or for sale, both with and without DeTect operators.

Wind Energy Project Avian Radar Survey & Monitoring

MERLIN Verticle Radar beam coverageRadar surveys for wind energy projects offer significant benefits over conventional visual avian survey techniques. The MERLIN system is the most powerful and proven tool available for assessment, monitoring and real-time risk mitigation at wind energy projects - in both terrestrial and offshore environments throughout the U.S. and Europe. MERLIN's dual vertical and horizontal scanning radars provide exceptionally accurate data on bird & bat passage rates and altitudes across proposed or existing wind farm sites and provides detailed bird and bat target databases for the rotor swept altitudes that can be used to provide quantitative determination of mortality risk to birds and bats at the wind farm. The system also develops detailed data on bird and bat movements for the area surrounding the wind farm out to 2-4 nm and up to 10,000 feet in altitude. MERLIN ’s Data Analyzer program includes standard and custom database queries providing both tabular and graphical outputs quantifying the numbers of birds and bats passing through the rotor swept area allowing precise calculation and determination of bird and bat mortality risk.

MERLIN Scada IllustrationFor operating windfarms, the MERLIN SCADA functionality allows the system to operate as a real-time "early warning", monitoring and risk mitigation system providing advance warning to the windfarm operators of approaching birds. MERLIN SCADA can also be configured to automatically activate mitigation responses at operating windfarms that can include idling of select or all turbines until risk conditions abate. The MERLIN operating software is fully compatible with most wind farm SCADA control systems and DeTect provides full implementation support. For more details on the MERLIN Avian Radar System for wind power projects, Click Here

Expert Application Support

With MERLIN, users are getting more than an avian radar system - DeTect provides comprehensive application support with each system that includes avian survey/ application design, system set-up, data collection support and project-specific user training. Each system is also supported by DeTect's team of avian biologists who have extensive backgrounds and experience in radar ornithology, avian biology, study design, bird control and risk mitigation on projects worldwide. For bird and bat survey applications, DeTect provides full data analysis support that includes custom algorithm development, data processing, reporting and risk analysis supporting client biologists and/or clients consultants.

MERLIN bird and bat radar systems are offered for sale, long-term lease or short-term rental, with or without DeTect operators and are backed by a comprehensive parts and labor warranty.



Technical Data Sheet - MERLIN Avian Radar Systems

Technical Data Sheet - MERLIN SCADA Bird & Bat Mortality Risk Mitigation Radar System

Technical Data Sheet - BirdMap NEXRAD Avian Radar Prescreening Assessment for Wind Farms

Catalog - MERLIN Avian Radar Systems, 31 pages (request copy)

Advantages of Solid State Bird Radars over Magnetron-based systems

Article - Using Radar to Protect Birds & Bats, Wind Today, Second Quarter 2011

Paper - A Review of Methods to Monitor Collisions of Birds with Offshore Wind Turbines, Bureau Waardenburg, 2011

Paper - Advances in Avian Radars for Protecting Birds at Challenging Wind Energy Sites, DeTect, WINDPOWER, 2012

Paper - Radar monitoring of migrating pink-footed geese: behavioural responses to offshore wind farm development, Plonczkier et al., Journal of Applied Ecology, 2012

Paper - Challenges and Solutions for Avian Radar Surveys at Offshore Wind Farm Sites (MAREE) by T. Adam Kelly et al.

Paper - Implementation of Avian Radar-SCADA Interface to Mitigate Raptor Mortality Risk at Windfarms, Davenport, et al., AWEA WINDPOWER 2011

Paper - Radar research on the impact of offshore wind farms on birds- Royal Belgium Institute of Nature MUMM, 2012

Paper - Short-term ecological effects of an offshore wind farm in the Dutch coastal zone by Lindeboom, et al.

Paper - A Quantitative Methodology for Determination of Migratory Bird Mortality Risk at Windfarms, Merritt et al.

Paper - A Framework for Mitigation of Bird and Bat Strike Mortality risk at Wind Farms using Avian Radar and SCADA Interface, Kelly et al.

Paper - Ornithological Radar Technologies for Bird and Bat Discrimination and Species Identification, Kelly et al.

Paper - AIRE: Aeroecological Interdisciplinary Research and Education Advanced Radar Technologies for Studying Organisms in the Aerosphere, Frick, Chilson, Diehl, Howard, Kelly et al. 2010



Video: Nature Report (part I) video on ground-breaking multi-year migratory bird research by Dr. Bart Ballard of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M Kingsville using MERLIN Avian Radar Systems. Dr. Ballard and his graduate students began their MERLIN Avian Radar studies in 2007 and currently operate two sophisticated MERLIN units during migrations. (link to online video).


MERLIN Avian Radar System on Governor's Island in New York City for migratory bird study for Fordham University

Fordham University, New York, New York USA - Fordham, in association with the Audubon Society, has conducted three migratory season surveys in New York and Philadelphia using DeTect-owned MERLIN systems to study how city lighting affects migrating birds. Most recently, for the fall 2012 migratory season, the MERLIN was used to support the OpenAir Philadelphia Art Light exhibit (more information)


Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas USA – Two MERLIN Avian Radar Systems owned and operated by the Cesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute are being used to conduct multi-year studies of migratory bird activity along the southern Texas gulf coast (see news story and video).

MERLIN bird radar system owned by the US Fish & Wildlife Service

US Fish & Wildlife Service, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Michigan USA - Two MERLIN systems purchased by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to assess wind farm areas in the coastal Great Lakes region of the US as part of a multi-year avian survey project (USFWS Region III radar website).


Airports Company of South Africa, Durban, South Africa - DeTect provided a MERLIN system for study and assessment of bird-aircraft strike risk issues associated with a roost of over 3 million Barn Swallows near the new Durban airport being constructed for the 2010 World Cup. The initial work included 24-7 radar survey of the bird activity to develop a risk assessment and BASH plan for the airport with a permanent MERLIN system installed in 2008 (see documentary video at top of page).

US Geological Survey Avian Radar System, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA - MERLIN XS2530e Avian Radar System used to conduct surveys of conservation resource plots to assess usage of the restored areas (formerly farmland) as stopover habitat for birds and bats. Radar surveys were conducted each morning and evening with the recorded data analyzed to quantify bird and bat tracks originating or terminating within the habitat zones.