Conservation drones for seabird monitoring
A research team led by Jarrod Hodgson and Rohan Clarke from Monash University is partnering with ConservationDrones to use UAVs for seabird monitoring. Jarrod and Rohan have just returned from a successful trip to remote islands in north-western Australia. They brought along a 3DRobotics X8 multirotor UAV which they used to capture very high resolution images of nesting seabirds on these islands.
After some preliminary testing, Jarrod and Rohan discovered that they could fly at an altitude of 75 m above ground level, without causing disturbance to the birds. They also found that flying at lower altitudes would work for large nesting species. But smaller non-nesting species were easily flushed from perching sites by the UAV flying at 40 m a.g.l.
The team from Monash University made a total of 9 successful flights with the UAV. They were targeting colonies of Crested Tern and Lesser Frigatebird. The Crested Tern colonies represent a medium-sized species that nests in dense colonies on the ground (see picture), whereas Lesser Frigatebirds are a large seabird which nests in smaller groups typically on elevated nest stacks and within vegetation.
For every successful survey, the team dispatched experienced seabird counters to make 1 – 2 blind counts of the surveyed population. They will be comparing these ‘ground counts’ with UAV aerial counts to assess the reliability of UAV data.
This is a fantastic demonstration of yet another application for conservation drones. The ConservationDrones team is excited to continue our collaboration with Jarrod and Rohan in several upcoming projects. Check out their new project site: ResearchEcology.com.au!
Nice. I have the same drone, slower than a place obviously but very effective. What camera are they using?
Hi i have a drone!!!!!!! i can help ? live in ecuador. written a firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Claudio, thanks. Please write to us at email@example.com, and we will keep you contact on file.
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I use drones to count guano seabirds off Peru (cormorants, boobies and pelicans). Please follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efNd_SrQ4uE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1advsXNNC3M This project is part of a ongoing project to estimate seabird populations in Peru.
Wildlife conservation aided by the use of UAV’s is a fantastic use of this technology and I’ve witnessed for myself, the counting of various nesting Seabirds here in the UK with no adverse affect on any of the birds. The imagery collected not only aided a more accurate count, but also helped identify birds which can be difficult to distinguish between different species from a distance, and exceeded initial expectations. I am very happy to become involved in citizan science projects such as the Orangutan nest search in imagery taken by UAV’s and already engage in similar activities and other conservation work.
Thank you. That is great to hear.
I have just published a few details of a smilar bird survey I led with UAVs in the UK. More details here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2045351939077950&id=1678868015726346
8km of 110mtr sea cliffs woth 250,000 sea birds. High data caprure to id down to sub species and an accurate count. A test day of traditional binocular count by very experienced ornithologists was carried out at the same time and locations, the data we gathered proved to be invaluable to all the groups involved.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Simon, that is great. If you have a video about the project and some text that you would like us to post on conservationdrones please let us know. We are happy to feature projects that others do as well. Serge