November 30, 2015
Journal Article

Two-dimensional thermal video analysis of offshore bird and bat flight


Thermal infrared video can provide essential information about bird and bat presence and activity for risk assessment studies, but the analysis of recorded video can be time-consuming and may not extract all of the available information. Automated processing makes continuous monitoring over extended periods of time feasible, and maximizes the information provided by video. This is especially important for collecting data in remote locations that are difficult for human observers to access, such as proposed offshore wind turbine sites. We present guidelines for selecting an appropriate thermal camera based on environmental conditions and the physical characteristics of the target animals. We developed new video image processing algorithms that automate the extraction of bird and bat flight tracks from thermal video, and that characterize the extracted tracks to support animal identification and behavior inference. The algorithms use a video peak store process followed by background masking and perceptual grouping to extract flight tracks. The extracted tracks are automatically quantified in terms that could then be used to infer animal type and possibly behavior. The developed automated processing generates results that are reproducible and verifiable, and reduces the total amount of video data that must be retained and reviewed by human experts. Finally, we suggest models for interpreting thermal imaging information.

Revised: November 11, 2015 | Published: November 30, 2015


Matzner S., V.I. Cullinan, and C.A. Duberstein. 2015. Two-dimensional thermal video analysis of offshore bird and bat flight. Ecological Informatics 30. PNNL-SA-109185. doi:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2015.09.001