UAS-based automatic bird count of a common gull colony
The standard procedure to count birds is a manual one. However a manual bird count is a time consuming and cumbersome process, requiring several people going from nest to nest counting the birds and the clutches. High resolution imagery, generated with a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) offer an interesting alternative. Experiences and results of UAS surveys for automatic bird count of the last two years are presented for the bird reserve island Langenwerder. For 2011 1568 birds (± 5%) were detected on the image mosaic, based on multispectral image classification and GIS-based post processing. Based on the experiences of 2011 the results and the accuracy of the automatic bird count 2012 became more efficient. For 2012 1938 birds with an accuracy of approx. ± 3% were counted. Additionally a separation of breeding and non-breeding birds was performed with the assumption, that standing birds cause a visible shade. The final section of the paper is devoted to the analysis of the 3D-point cloud. Thereby the point cloud was used to determine the height of the vegetation and the extend and depth of closed sinks, which are unsuitable for breeding birds.