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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Utilizing Wireless Endoscopes to Capture Visual Nesting Data: An Affordable Time Efficient Solution


Collecting data with wildlife can present several challenges to researchers, especially when the species is a bird nesting at heights requiring a ladder. These challenges can include using time to efficiently to visit large quantities of nesting sites, the costs to purchase new technology, and minimizing disturbances to wild animals. In order to meet these parameters, our team came up with a solution to allow us to do head counts and note general nesting behavior of barn owls, a biological control agent of voles. Our solution cost just $60 to provide equipment for a trained volunteer or researcher to collect this data on their own. Each team member uses a wireless endoscope, a small LED flashlight, a painter’s pole, and a smart phone to collect data in the field without a need for cell phone service. This solution allows more data collectors to participate for less money and time. Otherwise, this would require more costly equipment and the setup and usage of ladders. Usage of said technology can also be an affordable way to advocate for wildlife by mounting permanent cameras to boxes that do not require a wi-fi or an ongoing cellular connection. This setup could also be used to monitor other wildlife in hard-to-reach places with minimal disturbance for a low price.

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