While companies like Amazon, Flirtey, and Zipline continue to use drones for deliveries, a group of ornithologists at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania have studied a different way to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
By suspending a “simple, lightweight recorder” below a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter drone, Gettysburg College environmental studies professor Andrew Wilson and two undergraduate students studied songbirds and published their results in The Auk: Ornithological Advances. The study, called “The feasibility of counting songbirds using unmanned aerial vehicles,” found that data on songbirds compiled with a drone was comparable to that of “standard counts for most species.”
Why would you bother using a drone to study birds in the first place? “Because audio bird recordings are generally from ground-based or close-to-ground recorders, they may still be limited by site accessibility.