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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. An Attempt to Quantify the Usefulness of Thermal Imagers for Locating Grassland Bird Nests

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AUTHORS: Matt Stephenson, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Lisa Schulte Moore, NREM, ISU; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit.

ABSTRACT: Studies of bird nest survival require large sample sizes to draw robust inferences, but nests of grassland birds are often cryptic and difficult to locate.  Thermal imaging cameras promise to help quickly pinpoint warm nests against cool background temperatures, reducing search time and disturbance to vegetation around nests and reducing bias toward easy to find nests.  Previous authors have qualitatively reported thermal imagers to be helpful under specific thermal conditions occurring early in the morning and on cool overcast days.  This study is an attempt to quantitatively describe the usefulness of a thermal imaging camera in finding nests of grassland and open country nesting birds under a broader set of thermal conditions.  We searched 125 0.1-0.2 ha plots for bird nests once a week from early May to early July.  Searches were conducted by two pairs of observers alternating weekly.  One observer pair had access to a thermal imager and the other did not.  Capture histories were created for all nests discovered in plots and availability of a thermal imager was modeled as a covariate were placed on the detection probability.  Preliminary results suggest that under a broad range of thermal conditions, having access to a thermal imaging camera does not increase the detection rate of grassland and open country nests, but data analysis is ongoing.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (5)