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Investigating avian behaviour using opportunistic camera-trap imagery reveals an untapped data source


Vaughan, PM and Buettel, JC and Brook, BW, Investigating avian behaviour using opportunistic camera-trap imagery reveals an untapped data source, Ornithological Science, 21, (1) pp. 3-12. ISSN 1347-0558 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2022 The Ornithological society of Japan

DOI: doi:10.2326/osj.21.3


Understanding the behavioural responses of bird species to their environments is important for effective conservation, especially in captive-management and resource-provisioning programs. Camera traps present a growing opportunity to research bird breeding and foraging behaviour in situ. Remotely triggered cameras are commonly deployed to study mammals and large terrestrial birds. They are rarely used to survey small or arboreal birds due to habitat constraints. However, a wealth of information about small or arboreal birds can be generated opportunistically from camera traps in the course of collecting data on other taxa. Here, we describe and quantify the types of behavioural information that can be so gleaned, based on over 1,700 small-bird images captured as "collateral" during a geographically extensive mammal-focused camera study in Tasmania, Australia in 20182020. Postural analysis of images revealed 10 distinct behaviours. Large- and medium-sized terrestrial bird species were most commonly observed (61.6% of behavioural images), but small and arboreal species were also photographed at high rates (18.4% and 29.5% of behavioural images respectively). Investigative activity was the most commonly observed behaviour in small and arboreal species (around half of all images), but feeding, mating and even very rare behaviours like fur plucking, were also captured photographically. This case study reveals the value of opportunistically analysing camera trap images for small or arboreal birds species, especially when they are of conservation interest, even for cases where deliberately targeting them would not be a cost-effective strategy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:activity, breeding, foraging, passive monitoring, Tasmania, birds, ecology, camera traps
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Vaughan, PM (Mr Peter Vaughan)
UTAS Author:Buettel, JC (Dr Jessie Buettel)
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:149047
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FL160100101)
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-03-03
Last Modified:2022-12-08

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