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EagleEye:
Monitoring Wedge-Tailed Eagles with IoT

Using environmental monitoring technology to remotely monitor eagle activity in the nest

BACKGROUND

Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) is a Tasmanian Government Business Enterprise responsible for the sustainable management of 800,000 hectares of forest within Tasmania's Permanent Timber Production Zone land. As forest custodians, STT is committed to the management and protection of forest biodiversity. An important aspect of their forest activities is the protection of Tasmania’s wedged-tailed eagle nesting habitat.

 

The Wedge-tailed Eagle is Australia's largest bird of prey, distinguished by its wedge-shaped tail. Tasmania is the only home to the Wedge-tailed eagle subspecies Aquila audax fleayi, where the total adult population is estimated to be less than 1000. Wedge-tailed eagles nest in mature forest areas across Tasmania and are particularly sensitive to disturbances in their habitat while nesting, which may result in them abandoning eggs and even chicks. As an endangered species, the successful growth of the eagle population requires consideration of forestry management practices that protect their nests during the breeding season.

Eagle nests are protected during the breeding season, and logging activities cannot occur within 1km of an active nest. Sustainable Timber Tasmania sought to pilot the use of IoT as an accurate and cost-effective means to monitor eagle nest activity discretely, to protect breeding activities.

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CHALLENGES

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Existing practice involve manual observation of eagle nests from helicopters. This method has limitatied accuracy and can be loud and disruptive.

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Helicopter observations are an expensive observation practice, particularly when monitoring nests in different regions.

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Manual observations provide data for a static point in time, and do not allow for monitoring of the nests over the course of the breeding season.

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING SOLUTION

solution design

In order to avoid disturbance to eagle breeding, the installation of the EagleEye IoT Solution occurred during the breeding off-season. Data were collected using two different types of IoT technology, one being a LoRaWAN Sensor, and the other a 4G video camera. The devices were installed overlooking known eagle nests.

The INDICIUM DataBus was used to collate data from these devices, after which it was analysed to determine the activity status of the nest. Machine learning algorithms were trialled as a way to analyse the captured videos to determine when eagles were detected.

Occupancy data and video footage can be viewed through dashboards, and synchronised with GIS​ to streamline planning functions.

Environmental monitoring of wedge-tailed eagle nest
wedge-tailed eagle monitoring

PROJECT BENEFITS

The solution allows for discrete and safe observation of wedge-tail eagles in their nest, ensuring that nesting behaviour is not negatively impacted.

DISCRETE, LOW IMPACT MONITORING

Data collection surpasses manual methods for accuracy and cost-effectiveness, removing the need for expensive and potentially disruptive monitoring methods (e.g. helicopters).

ACCURATE, COST-EFFECTIVE DATA 

Data relating to in-nest activity can be collected in near-real time, and stored in a rich time series of nest behaviour. This provides the ability to monitor the eagle nest over the longer-term using Indicium's cloud-based dashboards.

REAL-TIME SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

The solution illustrates the ability for remote monitoring technology to accurately and effectively monitor nest occupancy and breeding activities, with the potential to scale this solution for the monitoring of other species of birds.

SIMPLE, SCALABLE SOLUTION

Eagle nest occupancy data helps decision-makers plan and deploy forest management resources in a way that balances biodiversity preservation with foresty practices. A win-win!

OPTIMISATION OF RESOURCES

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