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Drone Lacak Sarang Burung Nightjar

Sarang nightjar, burung pemakan serangga nokturnal, selalu elusif dan mahal selama ini. Kini kamera indera panas (thermal-sensing cameras) pada drone, yang murah dan aman dipakai untuk melacak sarang burung nightjar. Begitu hasil riset Ekolog Mike Shewring, Ph.D, dan Dr. Robert Thomas pada Cardiff University (Inggris) (British Ecological Society, 17/12/2018).

Kedua ekolog itu melakukan studi percontohan di Bryn, Natural Resources Wales (South Wales, Inggris) guna menguji kemampuan drone melacak situs-situs sarang burung nightjar yang dilindungi di Eropa. Hasil studi ini dipresentasi oleh kedua ahli itu pada pertemuan tahunan British Ecology Society yang dihadiri oleh 1200 ekolog dari 40 negara di Birmingham (Inggris), Senin (17/12/2018) (British Ecology Society, 17/12/2018).

“Nightjars are camouflaged to look just like a fallen log or dead wood. They nest on the ground and 'sit tight' when approached to avoid detection, which makes it nearly impossible to spot them during the day when they are inactive. We don't know whether the nightjars perceived the drones as a predator. This would be interesting to explore in future studies to ensure that the sight and sound of drones don't have any negative impacts on the birds' stress levels or metabolism," papar Mike Shewring, ahli Avian dan mamalia, burung pantai, dan dampak penggunaan lahan terhadap ekosistem (Science News, 17/12/2018)

Teknologi drone dan kamera indera panas merekam imej pada ketinggian 10, 20 dan 50 meter pada pagi, siang, dan senja. Sarang nightjar diobservasi dari jarak jauh guna mengetahui kemampuan teknologi drone. Melalui fotografi, kedua peneliti itu melacak sarang nightjar karena kontras antara panas suhu tubuh nightjar 40°C dan area latarnya yang lebih dingin.

“Our preliminary findings demonstrate the potential of drones for surveying nightjars during their breeding season, allowing forestry managers to locate nests more accurately and plan their works adequately. This methodology could also have wider applications, since it could technically be adapted to detect any warm-blooded species", ungkap Dr Robert Thomas, supervisor studi ini (Sabrina Weiss/British Ecology Society, 17/12/2018). 

Oleh: Servas pandur