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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 26 Oct 2017 (Thursday) 20:44
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is it ridiculous to get a thermal imager for owls?

 
DreDaze
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Oct 26, 2017 20:44 |  #1

so i've decided i'm going to find a spotted owl next year...i live where they live...i know they are here...but i'm going to be hiking trails where i think they are closer to dusk, or dawn, and mainly listening, and scanning...but then i was just noticing this flir add on for iphones that has thermal imaging camera...and i thought, maybe that'd work out better...

so tell me...am i being ridiculous?


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gjl711
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Oct 26, 2017 20:50 |  #2

Can't hurt, owlies are really hard to photograph out in the wild.


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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Oct 26, 2017 21:43 |  #3

I'd be shocked if it worked. Maybe if you already knew what tree to look in, but I don't think you are going to just wander through the forest and be able to pick out owls with FLIR. The first problem is going to be the limited resolution and wide angle focal length of a phone based system, I suspect picking out something the size of an owl at any useful distance would be challenging at best. The next issue is that FLIR doesn't look through things, so as soon as you put some foliage between you and the bird it's not going to be visible. Feathers are also a remarkable insulator, I'm not sure how distinct the heat signature of a perched bird is going to be to begin with.

Interesting but mostly unrelated story, a few years back I was involved with a project where we were tracking radio-transmittered bats at night from the air. We were flying with the Illinois DOT in one of their helicopters, which was equipped with a pretty advanced FLIR system. The pilots thought it would be fun to see if they could detect and follow the bats on the FLIR. As I remember it we did manage to spot some of them but it didn't work quite as well as they had hoped. Poor bats probably wondered why they were being chased by a helicopter too. :lol: A year or so after that took place they were salvaging that FLIR system after this happened... http://www.sj-r.com ...ter-crash-blamed-on-birds (external link) :eek:




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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 26, 2017 21:49 |  #4

.
You'd probably have a lot better chance of success if you just used a playback call during mating/nesting season, like everybody else does for owls and other birds.

(yes, I know that there are those who think this places undue stress on the birds ......... yada yada yada.....)

.


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DreDaze
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Oct 26, 2017 22:01 |  #5

gjl711 wrote in post #18481961 (external link)
Can't hurt, owlies are really hard to photograph out in the wild.

yeah, only thing it could hurt is my wallet if it turns out to be useless :)

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18481999 (external link)
I'd be shocked if it worked. Maybe if you already knew what tree to look in, but I don't think you are going to just wander through the forest and be able to pick out owls with FLIR. The first problem is going to be the limited resolution and wide angle focal length of a phone based system, I suspect picking out something the size of an owl at any useful distance would be challenging at best. The next issue is that FLIR doesn't look through things, so as soon as you put some foliage between you and the bird it's not going to be visible. Feathers are also a remarkable insulator, I'm not sure how distinct the heat signature of a perched bird is going to be to begin with.

Interesting but mostly unrelated story, a few years back I was involved with a project where we were tracking radio-transmittered bats at night from the air. We were flying with the Illinois DOT in one of their helicopters, which was equipped with a pretty advanced FLIR system. The pilots thought it would be fun to see if they could detect and follow the bats on the FLIR. As I remember it we did manage to spot some of them but it didn't work quite as well as they had hoped. Poor bats probably wondered why they were being chased by a helicopter too. :lol: A year or so after that took place they were salvaging that FLIR system after this happened... http://www.sj-r.com ...ter-crash-blamed-on-birds (external link) :eek:

thanks for helping with some details, and more realistic expectations...i literally just started googling about them tonight, and couldn't tell if people use them for wildlife or anything at all...it seems most uses are for indoors/HVAC types of things...in my mind it was like the movie "predator" i figured it'd make my life simple :)

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18482002 (external link)
.
You'd probably have a lot better chance of success if you just used a playback call during mating/nesting season, like everybody else does for owls and other birds.

(yes, I know that there are those who think this places undue stress on the birds ......... yada yada yada.....)

.

yeah...i'm still on the fence on calls personally...i'd never bait...but a call or two, doesn't seem to terrible...of course that's what the researchers are doing around here to determine where the owls are nesting anyways...


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Oct 26, 2017 22:32 |  #6

DreDaze wrote in post #18482006 (external link)
yeah, only thing it could hurt is my wallet if it turns out to be useless :)
...

I got curious and did some searching and it seems that hunters and wildlife management folks have been using FLIR for some time quite successfully. I also had a chat with my niece who is a wildlife management biologist for an airport and she swears by them. Only way to find raptors at night.


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DreDaze
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Oct 26, 2017 22:40 |  #7

gjl711 wrote in post #18482019 (external link)
I got curious and did some searching and it seems that hunters and wildlife management folks have been using FLIR for some time quite successfully. I also had a chat with my niece who is a wildlife management biologist for an airport and she swears by them. Only way to find raptors at night.

i think some of those might be the more expensive models than the $200 add on one i'm contemplating...don't think i could see myself spending much more on one...and they get to be expensive


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Oct 26, 2017 22:41 |  #8

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18481999 (external link)
... The next issue is that FLIR doesn't look through things, so as soon as you put some foliage between you and the bird it's not going to be visible. Feathers are also a remarkable insulator, I'm not sure how distinct the heat signature of a perched bird is going to be to begin with....

The Flir One seems to see through walls (external link) quite easily. I'm thinking of getting one of these for home renovation. Being able to see where the studs and or where pipes are would save hours of tracking things down.


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DreDaze
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Oct 26, 2017 22:46 |  #9

gjl711 wrote in post #18482022 (external link)
The Flir One seems to see through walls (external link) quite easily. I'm thinking of getting one of these for home renovation. Being able to see where the studs and or where pipes are would save hours of tracking things down.

hmm...i am a carpenter, so it could have some uses for work as well...it's kinda crazy the weird things i can convince myself to try sometimes...i'm still like 75% in on trying this :)


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Oct 26, 2017 22:54 |  #10

DreDaze wrote in post #18482028 (external link)
hmm...i am a carpenter, so it could have some uses for work as well...it's kinda crazy the weird things i can convince myself to try sometimes...i'm still like 75% in on trying this :)

Yea, me as well. I'm already looking at different models. This (external link) video almost has me convinced.


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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Post has been edited 23 days ago by ShadowHillsPhoto.
Oct 27, 2017 07:05 |  #11

gjl711 wrote in post #18482022 (external link)
The Flir One seems to see through walls (external link) quite easily. I'm thinking of getting one of these for home renovation. Being able to see where the studs and or where pipes are would save hours of tracking things down.

Admittedly it's not a technology that I've been staying abreast of every advancement being made so I'm going on general knowledge and a bit of first hand experience. That said, in a static environment like a house a wall surface has the time to develop a temperature gradient based on what is behind it.




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Sibil
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Oct 27, 2017 07:31 |  #12

gjl711 wrote in post #18481961 (external link)
......... owlies are really hard to photograph out in the wild.

No kidding. I have had zero success, so far.




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ejenner
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Post has been edited 22 days ago by ejenner.
Oct 27, 2017 23:27 |  #13

This has got me thinking too. I'm much rather do this, even if it were expensive, than calls. It would be for owls too and I was wondering about how insulated their feathers would be.

I see they can get really pricey really quickly though.


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Oct 28, 2017 00:29 |  #14

ejenner wrote in post #18482858 (external link)
This has got me thinking too. I'm much rather do this, even if it were expensive, than calls. It would be for owls too and I was wondering about how insulated their feathers would be.

I see they can get really pricey really quickly though.

yeah...the one i was looking at is definitely on the cheaper side...i'm not willing to pay thousands for anything like this...but even though i don't think it will really work as i hope...i'm still leaning towards getting it...i do a lot of stupid things like this, especially when it's some experimental way to get photos :)


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Post has been last edited 22 days ago by Tom Reichner with reason 'I corrected a simple, one-letter misspelling'. 3 edits done in total.
Oct 28, 2017 03:16 |  #15

DreDaze wrote in post #18482882 (external link)
...i do a lot of stupid things like this, especially when it's some experimental way to get photos :)

Something about all of this makes me curious. . The heat detector, even if it helps you find an owl.........well, how is that going to lead to good photos of the owl? . I mean, if an owl is skittish and doesn't feel comfortable with humans getting close, then won't it just fly away once you locate it and try to approach within photo range? . Also, if an owl is up in a tree, with lots of foliage and branches around it, and the sky behind it, how in the world are you going to ever get a clear shot of the owl with a nice background, favorable angle, appealing pose, no "sky holes", etc.

I mean, I wonder how locating an owl is going to lead to decent photo opportunities. . There are lots and lots of times when I see an owl whilst afield with my camera gear, but 99% of the time, there is just no way to get any kind of decent image.....even with my 800mm lens. . The only way this can work to give you the desired results, I think, is to use it during nesting season to find owls on their nests - then if you can find that you will have something you can work with, especially if you come back later with a means of getting up to the same height the nest is at (orchard ladder, step ladder, tree climbing spikes, etc).

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

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is it ridiculous to get a thermal imager for owls?
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