Low-budget ready-to-fly unmanned aerial vehicles: an effective tool for evaluating the nesting status of canopy-breeding bird species
2015 (English)In: Journal of Avian Biology, ISSN 0908-8857, E-ISSN 1600-048X, Vol. 46, no 4, 425-430 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Remotely controlled, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) promise to be of high potential for a variety of applications in ecological and behavioural research. Off-the-shelf solutions have recently become available for civil use at steeply decreasing costs. In this study, we explored the utility of an UAV equipped with an on-board camera (14 megapixel photo and 1920 x 1080 pixel video resolution) in assessing the breeding status, offspring number and age of a canopy-breeding bird species, the hooded crow Corvus [corone] cornix. We further quantified performance and potential time savings using the UAV versus inspection with alternative approaches (optical instruments, camera on a telescopic rod, tree climbing). Nesting status, number and approximate age of nestlings could be assessed with good success in all 24 attempts using the UAV. Eighty-five percent of the time required for inspection by climbing could be saved. Disturbance was moderate and lower than caused by climbing or using a camera on a telescopic rod. Additionally, UAV usage avoided tree damage and circumvented health risks associated with tree-climbing.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 46, no 4, 425-430 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-260310DOI: 10.1111/jav.00619ISI: 000357949300014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-260310DiVA: diva2:847513
FunderEU, European Research Council, ERC StG 336536 FuncSpecGenSwedish Research Council, 621-2013-4510