Principal investigator: Markéta Zárybnická
Project partners: Czech University of Life Science Prague, Czech Technical University in Prague
The project Smart Nest Box is a joint project of the Czech University of Life Science Prague, Faculty of Environmental Science and the Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics. The project has run since March 2013 and is ongoing. The Principal Investigator of the SNBox project is Markéta Zárybnická from FES CULS. The CIIRC CTU part is lead by Václav Hlaváč.
SNBox has aimed at building a smart sensory rich nesting box and at creating an appropriate methodology for bird nesting video analysis. We pushed the idea forward to the long term surveillance of cavity or box-nesting species. We developed and tested the Smart Nest Box (SNBox) – the system that contains the battery powered computerized device, which overcomes the usual limitations in data storage capacity, power source, and insufficient light. The power conservation was achieved by synchronization of cameras, light sources, and data loggers only to intervals in which the animals are active.
SNBox serves for monitoring of cavity-dwelling animals and efficient collection of high-quality biological video/audio data. In particular, we created the bird nest continuously monitored by camera system operating in a remote location for a week without replacement of the battery. We applied the SNBoxes to eight Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus) nests in the Czech Republic during a five-month period. We observed eight owl nests continually during the incubation, nestling, and fledgling phases, in total 309 days, resulting in 3382 owl video events.
We believe the system can be applied to birds, mammals or reptiles using nest boxes to breed, roost, hibernate, or store food so as to monitor their activities and circadian rhythms, feeding ecology, parental care, or sibling competition. Additionally, the modification of sensitivity of the event detector would allow monitoring of insects using cavities and nest boxes. We believe this monitoring system will provide unique insights into the lives of cavity-dwelling animals, as we show by results of the present study on Tengmalm’s owl.
Links on videos:
Tengmalm’s owl nesting
Great tit nesting
Common starling nesting
Us in media: