Fine-scale bird monitoring from light unmanned aircraft systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are remote-controlled devices capable of collecting information from difficult-to-access places while minimizing disturbance. Although UAS are increasingly used in many research disciplines, their application to wildlife research remains to be explored in depth.

In this new article, members from the Eco Land (Francesc Sardà and Lluís Brotons) and the BAC Lab (Gerard Bota) together with engineers from the Polytechnics University of Catalonia and members of SIBOC, report on the use of a small UAS to monitor temporal changes in breeding population size in a Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) colony. This method makes it possible to obtain georeferenced data on nest locations without causing colony disturbance, which would not otherwise be possible via direct ground observations.

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