How do I choose the right tech for my bird monitoring project?

Our sixth Season 2 Tech Tutor, Sarah Deans, tackled the question: How do I choose the right tech for my bird monitoring project?

Watch it on the WILDLABS Youtube Channel!

You can also ask Sarah questions, discuss this topic, and collaborate with other participants in our episode forum thread, and see our collaborative notes doc here.

Date published: 2021/01/11

About the series

Introducing the second season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors, our series that focuses on answering the "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech. Launched with the support of Microsoft AI for Earth, this series will give you the bite-sized, easy-to-understand building blocks you'll need to broaden your conservation technology horizons, enhance your research, or launch a new collaborative project.

Taking place every Thursday, each Tech Tutor will present a 30 minute tutorial guiding you through an aspect of conservation tech, followed by a 30 minute live Q&A session with the audience.

Tech Tutors is made for conservation tech beginners of all knowledge levels (and yes, even experts can still be beginners when it comes to tackling a new aspect of conservation tech or starting a new project!), and because we know that there's always more to learn in the #tech4wildlife world, that's why we're so excited to bring you a brand-new season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors! With presentations that will take you even deeper into those tricky "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech, we hope you'll discover new perspectives and ideas to bring to your own #tech4wildlife work.

For participants, the outcome will be an increased sense of confidence in their technological skills, the ability to actively build off of the skills discussed in these tutorials, and an opportunity to learn and collaborate with other members of the WILDLABS community. Read about the first season's community highlights here.

Our goal is to customize these tutorials to fit the needs of the community and address your needs, so let us know what you want to see in this season and beyond.

Can't make it? You can find every tutorial after it airs on our Youtube channel.

Meet your Tutor: Sarah Deans

Sarah's career in conservation started during her masters in Biodiversity Conservation when she spent a summer as a Ranger at Hengistbury Head, UK, working in a variety of habitats such as salt marsh, lowland heath and sand dunes to conserve endangered species including natterjack toads. After completing her master’s degree in 2017 she joined Lotek in January 2018 where she is an Avian Telemetry Specialist helping researchers to find the ideal solution for their research project.

We asked Sarah...

What will I learn in this episode?

I will provide an overview of the technologies available to avian researchers and how they work. I will also outline the benefits and limitations of each that should be taken into consideration when planning a research project.

How can I learn more about this subject?

WILDLABS is a great place to start, as is the Biologging Society. Both have lots of fantastic resources and updates to ongoing research. I would also recommend reading research papers on the topic which have the methods included.  Online databases of movement data such as MoveBank, Seatrack and of course MOTUS, showcase inspirational results.

For the latest research, you should also check out some of the amazing online conferences that have been happening over the last year. Some of these are available to watch online or you can look up the hashtags for twitter conferences.

If I want to take the next step using this technology, where should I start?

Contacting manufacturers such as Lotek is a good place to start. We are always happy to discuss possible projects with researchers and provide information on what should be considered when planning a project. If you want hands on experience you should check to see whether there are local wildlife groups looking for volunteers to help with tracking projects.

What advice do you have for a complete beginner in this subject?

Never be afraid to ask lots of questions. There is so much to learn and there are always new developments.

Additional resources from the episode

Here are links to the projects and resources mentioned during the episode:

Learn more about our upcoming Tech Tutorials

Visit the series page on WILDLABS to find the full list of WILDLABS Tech Tutors.

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Have a question for Sarah? We're hosting the discussion in our community.