A drone hovering over a crop field carrying a thermal camera aimed at detecting lapwing nests on the ground.
PHOTO: ANDREA SANTANGELI, JOHN LOEHR
Every spring, a large number of ground-nests of farmland birds are accidentally destroyed by mechanical operations, such as ploughing and sowing. A new study from the University of Helsinki shows for the first time that such nests can be located using a drone in combination with artificial intelligence.
Farmland bird species are declining over most of Europe. Birds breeding on the ground are particularly vulnerable because they are exposed to mechanical operations, like ploughing and sowing, which take place in spring and often accidentally destroy nests.
Locating nests on the ground is challenging for the human eye, and highly time-consuming
Researchers flew a drone carrying a thermal camera over agricultural fields to record images. These were then fed to an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of accurately identifying nests, a first step to aid their protection. Researchers tested the system in Southern Finland near University of Helsinki’s Lammi Biological Station, using wild nests with eggs of the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.
“We have been involved in conservation of ground-nesting farmland birds for years, and realized how difficult it is to locate nests on the ground. At least at high latitudes, the temperature of these nests is typically higher than that of the surrounding environment. Hence, we thought that thermal cameras could assist. A small pilot study indicated that thermal vision is hampered by vegetation and objects on the ground. Therefore, to make this an efficient system, we thought that the camera could be flown using a drone, and artificial intelligence could help to analyse the resulting thermal images. We show that this works. However, the system performed best under cloudy and cold conditions, and on even grounds,” says Andrea Santangeli, an Academy of Finland fellow at the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, University of Helsinki.
Drone technology becoming rapidly popular in conservation
It is possible to map in near real-time the spread of diseases on crops in agricultural areas using drones with various sensors. The latter is an integral part of precision agriculture, a new way of crop production that makes large use of drone technology to monitor crops and maximize production efficiency.
Studies like this one can help pave the way to integrate bird nest detection within the drone borne sensors used in precision agriculture, and automate a system for saving those nests.
“The conservation community must be ready to embrace technology and work across disciplines and sectors in order to seek efficient solutions. This is already happening, with drone technology becoming rapidly popular in conservation. A next and most challenging step will be to test our system in different environments and with different species. Our auspice is that this system will be, one day, fully integrated into agricultural practices, so that detecting and saving nests from mechanical destruction will become a fully automated part of food production,” says Santangeli.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Conserving farmland bird nests
- Falconry Saves Man from Life of Crime, Now he Helps Birds and At-Risk Youth Take flighton April 14, 2021 at 9:10 am
... that fall from their nests as fledglings. Part of this is because being a bird of prey is dangerous, and juveniles often die before they reach maturity. Perhaps the power of seeing a hawk or ...
- Birdwatchers of all experience levels invited to help with state’s first bird atlason April 9, 2021 at 8:59 am
Click here for updates on this story ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — North Carolina is launching it’s first bird atlas and inviting birdwatchers of all experience levels to participate. Conserving ...
- Trouble In Bird Paradise: Checking In On Standley Lake's Bald Eagle Nest, One Year Lateron April 6, 2021 at 6:24 pm
And in the digital age, a 24-hour eagle cam has brought the Standley Lake birds a loyal national following. But last April, a disturbance in the nest — in the form of ... Are there any updates in ...
- Amazing Birds In Photos: 21 Finalists For Bird Photographer Of The Yearon April 4, 2021 at 2:13 pm
BPOTY celebrates the world’s best bird photography, while supporting conservation efforts through ... hair from the deer’s back to use in nest building. Swallows return to the same stable on a farm ...
- Volatile Mekong threatens birds’ nestson March 31, 2021 at 12:58 am
With the unseasonal water levels, the nests are unpredictably flooded,” says Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok from the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand. “The river needs to be dry during the right season, ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Conserving farmland bird nests
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Artificial intelligence and drones
- Drone approach parameters leading to lower stress sheep flocking and movement: sky shepherdingon April 8, 2021 at 4:04 am
Herding risks farmer lives, involves stress from farm dogs, and if not performed often and intelligently, risks neglect. We examined the behavioural and physiological response of twelve Dorper sheep ( ...
- Matt Gaetz, his fiancee, drones and national security: Embattled congressman is engaged to sister of pro-Trump tech mogulon April 2, 2021 at 1:02 pm
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s future brother-in-law, Palmer Luckey, is a co-founder of a defense company that stands to profit by building drones and other technology for the U.S. government.
- Florida insurance companies going to new heights, using planes and drones to scrutinize roofson April 1, 2021 at 1:13 pm
Some insurance companies are now turning to artificial intelligence companies to scrutinize roofs on a regular basis and use planes and drones to take pictures and technology to crunch the data and ...
- Smart Safe Keeping: Blending Artificial Intelligence with Sea Turtle Conservationon March 30, 2021 at 12:02 am
and Langston Kosoff are all interns working with the artificial intelligence A.I. program at KwF. They are developing a new artificial intelligent drone that can help sea turtle conservationists.
- UK council to use drones and AI to tackle litteron March 29, 2021 at 8:48 am
It will use intelligence gathered from drone data to help dictate the future placement of bins, street cleaning schedules, and any required behaviour change encouragement campaigns to persuade ...