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  1. #1
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    Default Infrared search

    For my learned fellows, Can an infrared camera or scope see a night flying bird over head or would there not be enough heat radiating off it's feathers to create a heat signature? I was reading something about peregrines migrating at night and since harvest numbers are calculated by peregrine counts at hawk watch stations to some degree and if they weren't seen at night, the counts would not be a fair count. I was thinking they could be counted if they can be seen. Maybe just lights aimed from the ground would work. I hear waterfowl passing over my place in the fall but can't see them unless they pass between me and the moon and most do not.
    Tom Smith
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    dboyrollz76 Guest

  3. #3
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    I wonder what device they were using for the imaging? It didn't say or I missed it.
    Tom Smith
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  4. #4
    dboyrollz76 Guest

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    Not sure I just remember seeing the video once when I was watching hog hunting at night videos on YouTube. I guess it was on there because of it being IR.

  5. #5
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    My friend and I had wondered if we could use IR for locating grouse in winter. I think they are so well insulated, that it really wouldn't work as well as my friend thinks. Figure only heat being released would be at head, and butthole, neither showing much!
    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer54 View Post
    My friend and I had wondered if we could use IR for locating grouse in winter. I think they are so well insulated, that it really wouldn't work as well as my friend thinks. Figure only heat being released would be at head, and butthole, neither showing much!
    I know of people using it to find jack rabbits.
    -Jeff
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer54 View Post
    My friend and I had wondered if we could use IR for locating grouse in winter. I think they are so well insulated, that it really wouldn't work as well as my friend thinks. Figure only heat being released would be at head, and butthole, neither showing much!
    Nothing is that well insulated. You will still see a temperature difference between the animal and the background temps, especially in cold conditions. Actually, in most cases something with very good insulation will stand out more because an animal with poor insulation will be bleeding off heat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by goshawkr View Post
    Nothing is that well insulated. You will still see a temperature difference between the animal and the background temps, especially in cold conditions. Actually, in most cases something with very good insulation will stand out more because an animal with poor insulation will be bleeding off heat.
    Despite the temptation to argue with Geoff just to see where it goes I have to say I agree.

    We carry hand held thermal imaging cameras on our fire apparatus that are intended to see where hot spots are in side walls, etc.
    When we get calls for missing people we use them in the woods. A decent TIC can show you a wide range of temperatures.
    You are really just looking for areas that are warmer than the surroundings and even a few degrees will show up reasonably well.

    The leading company in thermal imaging is FLIR. They make cameras for the fire depts, industrial and military ones. They even have one that
    will plug into an Android or iOS phone.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

  9. #9
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    Thermal imaging is used quite a bit now for wildlife work. Sage-grouse at leks can be counted more accurately, and lots of other applications. Some of these include counting animals in dense forest and verifying fawns next to a mother elk or sheep.

    The attached image is of a sage-grouse lek, in spring without snow, and there is still a strong thermal signature.

    But most of the cameras used are high-end, definitely not hand-held models.

    sage+grouse.jpg
    John Dahlke
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  10. #10
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    Tom,

    I know high end night vision equipment can see birds in flight at night. Not IR based, just visible light at very low levels highly amplified.
    Most IR based night vision systems use what amounts to an IR searchlight to illuminate the field.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Dim Vision
    Tom Munson, Buckeye, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gizmo View Post
    Tom,

    I know high end night vision equipment can see birds in flight at night. Not IR based, just visible light at very low levels highly amplified.
    Most IR based night vision systems use what amounts to an IR searchlight to illuminate the field.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Dim Vision
    Tom,

    Would that be a Starlight Scope like we used in Viet Nam?
    Tom Smith
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Smith View Post
    Tom,

    Would that be a Starlight Scope like we used in Viet Nam?
    A starlight scope like you dreamed of in Vietnam.
    The technology has made progress.
    The capability/price ratio has improved.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert
    Tom Munson, Buckeye, AZ
    619-379-2656, tom@munson.us

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gizmo View Post
    A starlight scope like you dreamed of in Vietnam.
    The technology has made progress.
    The capability/price ratio has improved.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert
    Thomas,

    What do mean "dreamed of" I thought they were pretty good.
    Tom Smith
    You only live once, work it right and that's enough.

  14. #14
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    Perfect, wonder how much one would cost, that could be attached to a drone?
    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer54 View Post
    Perfect, wonder how much one would cost, that could be attached to a drone?
    A flir for a phone is $2-500 depending on the version. Something for longer range and a theoretical drone mount that would be useful will run into the $10’s of thousands.
    -Jeff
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRedig View Post
    A flir for a phone is $2-500 depending on the version. Something for longer range and a theoretical drone mount that would be useful will run into the $10’s of thousands.
    The technology is getting cheaper by the year. In a few years you will be able to get the
    performance of those $10K cameras for $2K and maybe less.

    We can now get thermal cameras built into our SCBA's so there is one less thing to drag into a fire

    Science is still cool.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    The responses above regarding technology improvements I think are spot on. Just as with calculators and laptops, tremendous improvements with prices dropping at the same time.

    But to Tom's original question we are not quite there yet. Two issues on which I would speculate would be the width of the sensor "beam" and how to correctly discriminate peregrines from other birds in the sky at night.

    Maybe the first ways to adapt technologies for night-time bird counts will come from retired military components. There is a fairly active transfer now from the military to wildlife uses, mostly to universities.
    John Dahlke
    "Happy is the man whose lot it is to know the secrets of the earth." Euripedes, 480 - 406 BC

  18. #18
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    Thanks John,

    I think you are right about the width of coverage in order to be an accurate count of birds over head. And I think it would difficult to ID deferent bird species from one another.

    Best regards
    Tom Smith
    You only live once, work it right and that's enough.

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    What about those migrating peregrine spotting areas, don't they have records of earliest and latest sightings of day?
    Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconrydope View Post
    What about those migrating peregrine spotting areas, don't they have records of earliest and latest sightings of day?
    Ron, it has been established that peregrines do migrate are night. (from a birding blog website) The question is: how many? Since migrating peregrine numbers are used to establish the peregrine harvest numbers in states permitting a passage harvest it is important to know how many more are passing the hawk watch stations, unseen.
    Tom Smith
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  21. #21
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    My lost birds moved at night, more than once.
    Ron

  22. #22
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    Now I understand why you want to know haw many passed unseen!
    Ron

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