Apr 01 2021

Real-life, modern-day x-ray specs

Photograph of team member demonstrating headset.

Last week we mentioned a fantastic new ‘listening’ technology called bioacoustics, to help us hear birds. This week we’re looking at another new technology, this time to help us ‘see’ birds.

Because birds on the ground are vulnerable, many ground-nesters, including nightjar and woodlark, have evolved great camouflage or other methods of concealment. A woodlark’s nest, tucked into a tussock of grass, is practically impossible to see, and a sitting nightjar blends in so well with her surroundings, that you can barely see her.

Photograph of a camouflaged nightjar on the nest

A camouflaged nightjar on her nest

Get involved

The prototype technology we’re trialling uses a simple type of augmented reality headset, with artificial intelligence software, to help us count birds on the ground. Real-life, modern-day x-ray specs!

It sounds sophisticated, but it’s actually very simple, and if it works as well as we hope, we may even be able to start loaning headsets to Thames Basin Heaths visitors. It’s a very exciting project and a great example of new technology helping nature!

We’re starting the trial today, 1st April 2021, so watch this space for news.

Thames Basin Heaths Partnership


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