We introduce a biologically based method for motion detection and track initiation. The model consists of five hexagonally packed layers of single compartment neurons. The model mimics some of the processing in the retina and has localized interactions between cells in each layer. To evaluate the gain from using a biological model versus a more conventional approach we have compared the performance of three methods: simple intensity thresholding, the biologically inspired model, and an algorithm involving a truncated sequential probability ratio test. These methods were tested with a large number of real and simulated astronomical data and with a standard set of 50 images using targets at various SNRs. We discuss the importance of various aspects of the biological model for the overall performance on a target detection task.